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Erdoğan to meet with widow of former Grey Wolves leader

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to meet with Ayşe Ateş, the widow of Sinan Ateş, an academic and former leader of the Grey Wolves (Ülkü Ocakları), the youth wing of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who was murdered in 2022, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Monday.

The meeting, announced by the Presidential Communications Directorate, will take place in the coming days.

Ateş confirmed the meeting, saying, “There has been a deafening silence until now. I welcome the acceptance of my request for this meeting.”

In a statement to the press, Ateş confirmed that she had sought the meeting with Erdoğan.

“For about a year and a half, I have been seeking a meeting [with Erdoğan] through both official and unofficial channels. The date and time will soon be communicated to me. The meeting will focus on the prosecution of Sinan Ateş’s murderers. We want the barriers to justice removed. There has been significant silence until now. I see the acceptance of this request for a meeting as a positive step. Hopefully, we are moving quickly towards a resolution,” she said.

Earlier on Monday, Ateş met with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel at the party’s headquarters in Ankara. During the meeting, Ateş revealed that 10 days ago she was informed by Erdoğan’s aide, Hasan Doğan, about an upcoming meeting with the president. However, following a speech by MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, the meeting did not take place.

“Ten days ago, Hasan Doğan called me and said the president would meet with me. However, following a speech [by Bahçeli] at the MHP group meeting, where we were accused of various wrongdoings, the meeting was canceled. I believe this speech was a message to the president not to meet with us,” Ateş said.

Sinan Ateş, the former leader of the Grey Wolves, was assassinated in Ankara on December 30, 2022. His widow has been actively seeking justice for her husband. She has expressed concerns over the influence of political figures in hindering the investigation and the prosecution of those involved in the murder.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office recently completed its investigation into the murder, indicting 22 individuals. Despite this, critics, including Ayşe Ateş, accused authorities of attempting to protect certain political figures by providing an incomplete indictment. She argues that the omission of critical details is an effort to shield high-ranking officials within the MHP.

Ateş has been vocal about the threats she has received following her husband’s murder. During a recent interview, she stated that she had applied for protection from the Interior Ministry. Journalist İpek Özbey announced that Ateş has been assigned two personal bodyguards due to these threats.

In response to the ongoing scrutiny, Bahçeli has dismissed allegations against the Grey Wolves and the MHP, framing them as part of a broader conspiracy against his party. During a recent speech, he attacked media outlets critical of the MHP and threatened to settle accounts with them.

The case continues to attract significant attention due to the political affiliations of the suspects and the influential role of the Grey Wolves in Turkish politics. The group, known for its ultranationalist stance, has a history of involvement in violent activities.

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