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‘Zeeburg must stop supporting Grey Wolves’

2 April 2008 - The Zeeburg District must stop supporting the extreme nationalist Turkish Grey Wolves movement, says the Doorbraak organisation in a letter to council members. The VVD distances itself from accusations against its fellow party member Yasar Arik, but it will make enquiries about a controversial party in Beverwijk.

Doorbraak refers to an article by the Turkish Extreme Right Research Group, which claims that Arik convinced alderman Jan Hoek to back a 35,000 euro loan to the local Grey Wolves organisation Tükem. According to the Zeeburg website, Arik is an advisor for Tükem and fulfils other functions as well, including co-ordinator of the youth wing.

VVD party leader Dirk Hanke says that Arik only referred the organisation to the alderman. He further says that Arik has stepped down as advisor and he assumes that Arik has given up his other functions as well. Accusations against Tükem would have been investigated in the past and no evidence of a Grey Wolves connection would have been found.

Last month, Tükem organised an ‘Amsterdam youth party’ in Beverwijk featuring a performance by a Turkish singer with ties to the Grey Wolves. This was a ‘naive’ thing to do for Tükem, says Hanke. “It regards a popular Turkish artist and because of their Turkish cultural background, people at Tükem did not realise that he was a bad choice”. Apart from the awkward choice of singer, there was nothing wrong with the party, says Hanke, who discussed the issue with Arik.

Frank Wetstra of Doorbraak has a different view. The website of the Ulu Mosque has photos of the party that abundantly show symbols of the Grey Wolves, including the three crescents, pictures of wolves and the hand gesture with index finger and little finger pointing up and the other fingers pointing forward, in imitation of a wolf's head.

On one of the photos, a little boy makes the Grey Wolves gesture with a water pistol in his other hand, against the background of Turkish flags. “It oozes nationalism”, Wetstra says.

According to a report on the anti-fascist website AFA, an ode to the Turkish Grey Wolves party MHP was sung at the party: “Our party is the MHP, our leader is Bahçeli, the Grey Wolf is our symbol, Islam is our religion, Turkey is the leading country, we’re on our way to power”.

One of the speakers would have said: “We know how difficult it is for Turks in the Netherlands, but all these problems can be overcome by remaining Turkish, strengthening our family ties and embracing nationalist values”.

VVD party leader Hanke says this information is new to him. He declines to comment before hearing from Tükem.

At the website, Mark van Dongen (SP) responds to the Doorbraak letter. He agrees that the district should not support groups that discriminate against other groups. He says that organisations applying for a subsidy must be investigated more thoroughly in the future: “organisations that have ties with the Grey Wolves should not get one cent in government support”.

However, he objects to the criticism of Yasar, who in the past would have taken a more social stance than the rest of his party. “Perhaps too social for the VVD: he does not often speak in the district council anymore”.

Letter to council members, Van Dongen’s response, report of youth party (all in Dutch), photos of youth party (click Main menu then Amsterdam genclik söleni)


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