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Erdoğan’s far-right ally slams critical media for reporting on murder case implicating his party

Devlet Bahceli

Turkish Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli speaks during a meeting of his party's parliamentary group at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara on November 8, 2022. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s far-right ally, lambasted critical media outlets on Monday over their coverage of suspicions about the involvement of the Grey Wolves, the youth wing of the MHP, in the murder of the group’s former leader, academic Sinan Ateş.

Bahçeli made his remarks during a commemoration for the nationalists who were killed by other political factions in Turkey’s recent history, standing alongside current Grey Wolves leader Ahmet Yiğit Yıldırım, who was allegedly involved in Ateş’s murder.

Ateş was fatally shot in Ankara on December 30, 2022, sparking widespread debate about internal power struggles within Turkey’s nationalist circles.

Bahçeli targeted several media outlets, including Halk TV and Sözcü TV, accusing them of unjustly attacking the MHP and the Grey Wolves.

“We will settle accounts with all of you. We know very well the rancor of the rotten scum who speak against us,” he said.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office recently completed its investigation into Ateş’s murder, indicting 22 people, including figures linked to the Grey Wolves. Key suspects include Eray Özyağcı, accused of firing the fatal shots, and Emre Yüksel, a private secretary to Yıldırım.

Despite the indictment, critics, including Ateş’s widow Ayşe Ateş, argue that it omits details about the masterminds and motive behind the assassination, focusing solely on the execution. New footage published by T24 showed a government-issued security vehicle involved in transporting Özyağcı, adding to the controversy. Ayşe Ateş has accused authorities of attempting to protect certain political figures by omitting crucial details from the indictment.

During his speech, Bahçeli dismissed these criticisms, portraying them as part of a broader conspiracy against the MHP and the ruling coalition. “There’s a plot targeting us. We will not reconcile with the slanderers. We will confront those who ally with foreign agents and break them apart,” he said.

The murder of Sinan Ateş and the subsequent media coverage have intensified scrutiny on the Grey Wolves, known for their ultranationalist stance and historical involvement in violent activities. The case is closely being watched due to the political affiliations of the suspects and the Grey Wolves’ influential role in Turkish politics.

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