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Fearing for her life, widow of former Grey Wolves leader pleads for protection

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Ayşe Ateş, the widow of slain former Grey Wolves leader Sinan Ateş, has made a desperate plea to Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya and Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç for protection, fearing for her life and that of her children due to overt threats.

Sinan Ateş was assassinated in Ankara on December 30, 2022. His widow, Ayşe Ateş, has been actively seeking justice for her husband. Ateş has previously expressed concern over the influence of political figures, specifically far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) executives, in hindering the investigation and the prosecution of those involved in the murder.

“My husband, Sinan Ateş, was a dedicated and honorable man, and now I am being subjected to the same threats he faced,” Ayşe said in a post on X.

She expressed fear of a second “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” referencing Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel where a murder, foreseen by everyone, still tragically occurs.

“Do not let another ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ happen in this country,” she implored.

In her post, Ayşe detailed her conversation with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who she said had provided her with two bodyguards following her initial appeal for protection.

Despite this, Ayşe expressed her lingering fear, stating, “Even though I have been given police protection, I am not sure if these individuals would hesitate to target police officers. I am scared.”

Ayşe’s fears are compounded by public statements made by Burak Bekiroğlu, a pro-government lawyer who has more than 150,000 followers on X. Bekiroğlu has accused both Ayşe and her late husband of having connections to Gülen movement, a faith-based group outlawed by Ankara, and has insinuated that Sinan was involved in prior criminal activities.

Bekiroğlu said to Ayşe Ateş in tweet that he would “bury” her.

“Why are his threatening posts not treated as criminal complaints? Why is he not called in for questioning, and why aren’t the documents he claims to have being examined?” Ayşe said.

She continued her plea, emphasizing her family’s integrity and loyalty to the state: “We are two honorable, patriotic civil servants who have served this nation. We are clean and innocent. If necessary, let there be a thorough investigation into both my husband and me. Let the truth come out.”

Ayşe recounted the tragic events leading to her husband’s murder, describing a campaign of defamation, threats on social media and ultimately, his assassination in broad daylight.

She called on the ministers to recognize the seriousness of the threat. “Can’t you see what is coming? These people are not afraid of law enforcement or justice. Treat his posts as criminal complaints. Call him in, listen to him, and demand proof of his allegations. If he has any evidence against me, or Sinan, or any evidence about the murder, let him present it. If not, take the necessary legal action.”

Ayşe concluded with a plea: “We are tired of the insinuations, insults and slanders. We are exhausted from living with the constant fear of being killed. Please, put an end to this. I beg you, do not let a second ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ happen in this country. Do not leave my children without a mother.”

meeting Erdoğan had with Ayşe Ateş at the presidential palace in Ankara last week sparked speculation of a growing rift between Erdoğan and the MHP.

Justice Minister Tunç, who also attended the meeting, said Erdoğan is committed to ensuring justice for Sinan Ateş.

Erdoğan, who met with his party organization on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha holiday on Monday, said his party would never be manipulated by people who attempt to “plant seeds of evil” and try to cause a rift in the AKP’s alliance with the MHP.

This has led to speculation about whether the promises of justice for the murder of Sinan Ateş will become a reality or whether they were only made to strengthen the AKP in the power-sharing deal with the MHP.

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