Turkey: Former leader of ultra nationalist Grey Wolves assassinated

Turkey: Former leader of ultra nationalist Grey Wolves assassinated
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Sinan Ates had been accused by officials of the Nationalist Movement Party of being affiliated with the government's arch enemy Gulen movement, and of factionalism.

Former chair of the ultra nationalist Grey Wolves organization was killed in Ankara on Friday by unidentified gunmen.

Sinan Ates and his friend Selman Bozkurt were targeted by two assailants on motorcycles as Ates and Bozkurt stepped out of a building in the district of Cankaya, state news agency AA reported.

Ates received a bullet in his head and died in the hospital, AA said.

Ates had headed the organization, officially named "Idealist Hearths," in 2019-20.

The Grey Wolves organization, founded in 1968, is the unofficial youth wing of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). It had been involved in armed attacks and assassinations that left thousands dead in the 1970s.

Ates had been reportedly accused of being affiliated with Gulen movement (referred to as "Fetullahist Terror Organization" or "FETO" by Turkish authorities) by MHP officials.

Former chair of a local Grey Wolves branch Cagri Unel, who had backed Ates in the strife, killed a man named Emrullah Kaplan in intra fighting in mid March.

Journalist Ismail Saymaz wrote after the deadly incident:

"I warned. I warned so many times. I said, 'Someone will eventually die.' First, some nationalists and members of Grey Wolves who had come into conflict with MHP were subjected to violence. Lawyer Israfil Kumbasar, journalist Yavuz Selim Demirag, Meral Aksener's advisor Murat Ide... The police acted blind, the prosecutors acted deaf. The assailants started targeting other political rivals, emboldened by this policy of impunity. Journalist Sabahattin Onkibar and Orhan Uguroglu were targeted in the street, Levent Gultekin in front of Halk TV's offices. Selcuk Ozda, deputy chair of the Future Party was assaulted with sticks. Former Grey Wolves chair Suat Basaran was beaten up in Esenboga Airport."

He continued:

"Sinan Ates, who had served as the chair of the Grey Wolves in 2019-20, was all of a sudden removed from his post. Ates, who is currently working as an assistant professor at Hacettepe University's Institute of History of Reforms, was accused of being affiliated with FETO and of factionalism. An article titled 'A fire of betrayal' was published in a website named Orhun Haber. Things haven't calmed down even after he closed his social media accounts."