Copy of 962210-01-02-1604394167291
In this file photo taken on December 21, 2018, a man wearing a Turkish officer's uniform flashes the Grey Wolves (a Turkish far-right ultranationalist organisation) sign, during a demonstration in support of Turkey in the Syrian town of Bizaa. France is to ban Grey Wolves, the interior minister said on November 2, 2020, after a memorial to the mass killings of Armenians was defaced at the weekend. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: France will dissolve a Turkish ultra-nationalist movement named the “Grey Wolves” , Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The decision to disband the group, which is accused of targeting Turkish and Armenian communities near Lyon, central France, comes as the relationship between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaches new lows.

Erdogan has questioned Macron’s mental state, and accused him of stigmatizing Muslims, on the back of an expansionist policy in the Mediterranean Sea and conflicts with European powers over Syria and Libya. The French government is adopting a harder tone against Islamist activists following the gruesome beheading of a teacher by one of their followers earlier this month. Macron has insisted he’s not targeting Muslims, but only radical activists using faith to promote violence.

The “Grey Wolves” group is said to be close to Erdogan, according to Agence France-Press. It’s unclear how its dissolution will affect its activities, since it’s “a de-facto group” rather than an association that’s legally organised in France, AFP quoted Darmanin as telling MPs.