Former German midfielder Mesut Özil is at the centre of discussion in Germany after a photo of him appeared on social media in which he poses with his Grey Wolves tattoo.
A picture was posted on Instagram by fitness coach Alper A, in which he poses with former German soccer player Mesut Özil, who is now one of his clients. The two men stand side-by-side, showing their toned abs, with a tattoo visible on Özil’s chest.
The tattoo stirred discussions in Germany, where the soccer star was born into a Turkish immigrant family. The tattoo, showing the silhouette of a howling wolf and three crescent moons, showcases typical right-wing extremist symbols of Turkey.
The wolf is the symbol of the ultranationalist group the Grey Wolves, also known as the Idealist Hearths or Ulku Ocaklari, and was originally an important mythological symbol representing power.
The three crescents were originally to be found on the war flag of the Ottomans; today, they form the party logo of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has been the most significant political ally of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
According to German authorities, the Turkish Grey Wolves group’s ideology is nationalist-extremist, antisemitic and racist, with stereotypical enemies including Kurds, Armenians, Jews and Christians. Supposedly, they aim to establish a homogeneous state of all Turkic peoples under Turkish leadership. They believe in the superiority of the Turkish nation and have committed numerous acts of violence and murders in the past, particularly in the 1970s.
Grey Wolves are organised throughout Europe, and their regional umbrella organisation is located in Frankfurt, Germany, founded in 2007.
Austria prohibited Grey Wolves symbols in 2019, and France banned their offshoot in 2020 when the German parliament also resolved to consider a similar ban. Yet, there is still no such ban in effect.
German security authorities believe there are some 11,000 Grey Wolves members, around 9,500 of them organised in associations nationwide, the largest being the „Türkisch Demokratischen Idealistenvereine in Deutschland” (Turkish Democratic Idealists Associations in Germany, ADÜTDF), representing the interests of the ultranationalist MHP, Erdogan’s ally. The second biggest is ATIB, the „Union der Türkisch-Islamischen Kulturvereine in Europa” (the Union of Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations in Europe). The third umbrella organisation in Germany is the Federation of World Order in Europe (ANF), representing the interests of the Islamic-ultranationalist Great Unity Party (BBP), which is also a member of Erdogan’s electoral alliance.
Video source: Into Europe