France bans Turkish ultranationalist group Grey Wolves

PARIS (AP) — The French government on Wednesday banned a Turkish ultranationalist group that it accused of leading violent actions and inciting hatred speech in France.

The ban on the Grey Wolves, the militant wing of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party. was approved during a weekly Cabinet meeting, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said.

The government accuses the group of “extremely violent actions, disseminating “extremely violent threats” and creating “incitement to hatred against authorities and Armenians,” Attal said.

He cited an Armenian memorial near the French city of Lyon that was discovered defaced last weekend. The memorial, which honors victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide, had “Grey wolf” and “RTE” written on it. “RTE” is a reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

An estimated 1.5 million died in massacres, deportations and forced marches carried out by Ottoman Turks in what is widely viewed by historians as a genocide. Turkey denies the deaths constituted a genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

The ban on the group comes amid significant tensions between France and Turkey, which reached a peak in recent days after Erdogan said that French President Emmanuel Macron needed his head examined for defending caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. In an unusual move, France last month recalled last month its ambassador to Turkey for consultations.

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