Merih Demiral: What is the Grey Wolf salute for which UEFA is investigating Turkish participant Demiral? | Euro 2024 Germany | EUROtoday

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Turkish centre-back Merih Demiral, who scored each targets in opposition to Austria that gave his staff a spot within the quarter-finals of the European Championship, has sparked a storm that has mobilised the authorities of UEFA – they’ve opened an investigation in opposition to him – and of Germany – they’ve accused him of selling “far-right” and “racist” concepts – whereas the Turkish authorities has summoned the German ambassador to protest what they think about a marketing campaign in opposition to their star participant motivated by “xenophobic” emotions. The cause for the controversy is the gesture the participant made to have fun Turkey’s victory over Austria: the image of the Grey Wolf.

The gesture – a wolf’s head made with the hand – is predicated on Turkic mythology, based on which the she-wolf Asena protected a younger survivor of a battle who, after recovering, would go on to discovered the primary of the nice Turkic empires in Central Asia. However, in Seventies Turkey, the signal grew to become the hallmark of far-right paramilitary teams linked to the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) who clashed with left-wing militants within the streets and carried out lots of of murders. These teams had been generally nicknamed “Grey Wolves” due to the hand gesture they made.

“Symbols of the Turkish far right have no place in our stadiums. Using the European Championship as a platform for racism is completely unacceptable. We hope that UEFA will investigate the case and consider sanctions,” wrote German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser on the social community X previously generally known as Twitter. The Turkish authorities, for its half, recalled that, in one of many experiences of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, “it is stressed that not all people who make the Grey Wolf symbol can be considered far right.”

Austria has banned the image since 2019, France has debated “banning the Grey Wolves” and Germany’s secret companies are retaining a detailed eye on them as a result of Turkish protesters figuring out with the image have repeatedly carried out acts of vandalism and racist assaults in opposition to, for instance, members of the Armenian neighborhood.

The drawback is that the Grey Wolves don’t exist, or a minimum of not as an organisation. They are somewhat a free motion, an ultra-nationalist ideology that spreads throughout varied events and organisations.

The foremost one is the aforementioned MHP, the present authorities accomplice of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And there are organisations linked to this celebration, such because the Home of Idealists, which is current all through Turkey and among the many diaspora of Turkish emigrants, which could be very quite a few in nations resembling Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. But the IYI celebration, a nationalist centre-right celebration and one of many foremost opposition events, or the brazenly xenophobic Victory Party (ZP), additionally subscribe to this ideology. The fragmentation of ultra-nationalism in Turkey throughout the political spectrum, as an alternative of dividing and weakening its forces, has induced the alternative: it has multiplied. In the final elections, actually, these events accounted for practically 25% of the votes.

Erdogan himself has made the gesture at a number of political rallies, as have leaders of the centre-left opposition, in search of the votes of supporters of this ideology, which has lastly ended up normalising a gesture historically linked to the far proper and ultra-nationalism.

It is due to this fact probably that Demiral didn’t even cease to consider the uproar his gesture may elevate. This even if simply at some point earlier, in a number of cities in Turkey, hundreds of individuals had attacked the neighbourhoods of Syrian refugees, stoning their properties and burning their companies, shouting “We don’t want refugees” and making the Grey Wolf image.

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