The federal government assumes a membership potential of about 11 000 people. Experts estimate this to be even higher. The Turkish secret service MIT [Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency, ed] is said to have countless agents and informants, mostly of Turkish origin, in Germany alone.
According to experts, the MIT’s espionage network extends to authorities, travel agencies and other companies.
According to the ARD magazine Report Mainz, a parliamentary inquiry by the Left Party in the Bundestag indicated that the German government assumes that there are regular meetings between the Grey Wolves and members of the MIT. The organisation is also called the Ülkücü movement.
A judicial disciplinary procedure is currently underway against at least one suspect. “There are actual indications of extremist aspirations among the other people,” the German government said in response to the inquiry.
It is “therefore likely that such contacts are also used by the MIT to promote intelligence matters”, it concluded.
According to an analyst in the Australian Green Left Weekly, the Grey Wolves have largely unofficial presence in Turkey’s major universities, but their “real power is on the streets, among disaffected poor people in predominantly Turkish Sunni neighbourhoods.” One source claimed that a political party, the MHP and Grey Wolves “retain strong support within the military” the Middle East Eye reported.
The most important Grey Wolves-affiliated Turkish organisation in Germany is Türk Federasyon which has around 200 member organisations. It numbered around 7 000 active members a decade ago while the National Democratic Party (NPD) had 5 000 members.
Today there are at least 20 000 Turkish adherents in Germany and around 5 000 in Austria, but the numbers of supporters are on the rise. Some young wolves from Europe even travelled to Syria as “God’s warriors” according to researcher Thomas Rammersdorfer.
Cemal Çetin, the chairman of the umbrella organisation of the Gray Wolves in Europe, has had his organisation classified as extremist. Çetin, an elected Turkish MP for the MHP, was a member of President Erdogan’s delegation in Brussels for the NATO summit 2018. The fact that the leading figure of the Gray Wolves was traveling with Erdogan was also widely reported in the Turkish media.