Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
9th December, 2015
Ukrainian nationalists and activists of the so-called Crimean Tatar Mejlis recently began to receive reinforcements in the face of right-wing members of the Turkish group "Grey wolves". One of the organizers of the blockade of Crimea, Lenur Islyamov, on his blog posted a photo with Turkish fighters. "Turkish patriots from the organization Bozkurtkar Turk ulkuculeri, people call it — "Grey wolves", visited us at the blockade. The blockade is compressed", — signed "islyamov".
To make it clear who decided to be friends with the "svidomye", please refer to history. "Grey wolves" ("Bozkurtlar") appeared in the late 1960s as the youth wing of the far-right "nationalist movement Party", which proclaimed the goal of uniting all Turkic peoples in one state. Colonel Alparslan of Turkey led the organization, and was an open admirer of Hitler and Nazi ideas. The Turkish state, regardless of whether it has formally forbidden the "wolves" or allowed them to emerge from the underground, actively used them to suppress opposition and promote foreign policy. On record there are hundreds of crimes by "Bozkurtlar". They killed trade unionists, activists of the Kurdish movement, the Communists, objectionable journalists and officials and staged a mass massacre on may day demonstrations in Istanbul in 1977. It is believed that the crimes organized by the "wolves" death squads in the Kurdish areas consisted of thousands of civilians.
Active Grey wolves also operated abroad. They staged an assassination attempt on the Pope in 1981. Now they are actively collaborating with the terrorist underground in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region of China, considering it part of the "great Turan". In August of this year, "wolves" staged an attack in the capital of Thailand, in which 19 people died and 123 were injured. In Europe the wolves organize mass rallies in Turkey, they sometimes kill people in the Old World of the Kurds, and defile the monuments to the Armenians and beat up Chinese tourists. In recent years the "Grey wolves" focused on the recruitment of people for war in Syria on the side of ISIS.
In the post-Soviet arena, "Grey wolves" appeared immediately after the collapse of the USSR. In 1992, the organization's leader, Colonel Turkesh, met in Baku with the future President of Azerbaijan Abulfaz Elchibey. Later the wolves fought in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the side of the terrorists in Chechnya.
The fact that now the Crimean Tatar nationalists decided to cooperate with "Bozkurtlar", is not surprising, as well as the worsening of Russian-Turkish relations. It is known that our pilot, catapulted from the downed su-24, was shot by the son of the leader of the "Party of the nationalist revival" and the Commander "the Grey wolves", Alparslan çelik. As was stated in an interview to Aleksey Zhuravko, now, in the Kherson region, there are about 700 fighters of "Bozkurtlar". There are documented cases of attacks on local residents. In Kherson region the wolves are going to create some kind of "Tatar Republic".
But it would be bad if the wolves had acted only according to Erdogan's will. Everything points to the fact that they are backed by the Turkish leadership. But because of threats issued by the radicals, their presence around the border with Crimea should be taken seriously.
In August this year the leader of the Mejlis, Mustafa Cemil, in Ankara, participated in the "World Congress of the Crimean Tatar people". And in September the Majlis, under the leadership of Dzhemilev and Chubarov, joined the Ukrainian nationalists and began a food blockade of the Peninsula. Then everyone laughed because such unwise actions affected primarily Ukrainian entrepreneurs. But few people noticed that Turkish food exports on the Peninsula immediately increased four times. According to reports in the media, for organizing the blockade, one of the active members of the Majlis, Lenur Islyamov, (who now is friends with the "Grey wolves") received from the Turks 500 thousand dollars. Previously, Turkey became saturated with content and sponsored Islyamov for the TV channel ATR. A few years ago Islyamov was seen in cooperation with "Hizb ut-Tahrir".
The plans of the Crimean Tatar radicals today involve a sea blockade of Crimea. In a conversation with the prankster Vovan, Islyamov admitted that his guys are ready to arrange the armed invasion in Crimea. Now that reinforcements have arrived of "Grey wolves", you can be sure that these scenarios will be considered seriously.
Senior research fellow at IMEMO, Russian Academy of Sciences, Viktor Nadein-Raevsky, believes that though it may be a large-scale provocation, Ukraine should be more wary of cooperation with the "wolves":
— In terms of the "Grey wolves", you will have to just wait. This is a very strong organization that has a legal branch in Germany and the Netherlands. In Turkey they are officially prohibited, but we see that they can act quite freely in neighboring Syria. Recently, the "Grey wolves" appeared in Ukraine, together with "Dzhemilev", and publicly demonstrated their intentions. The plans of the "Grey wolves" are quite large, they by any means will not stop. You have to understand that this Pro-fascist terrorist organization's goal is to build a great Turan state, as taught by the "wolves"ideological leader, Alparslan Turkes.
It's hard to say how many "wolves" there are. Before the coup in Turkey in 1980, there were from 200 to 400 thousand, but this information has not been verified . They have their training camps, it is quite a modern organization. By and large, the wolves are little different from ISIS. The difference is that they are based not only on Islam, but Turkish nationalism. Three of the Crescent, depicted in the form of a swastika, is their old symbol, and they greet each other by throwing the palm forward.
— Can Turkey pursue its policy abroad through the "Grey wolves"?
— Turkey may, but as an issue of fairness to the leadership of the country, it is not worth it. It may lie. Of course, this would be a tedious lie, but Ankara continues to use it as a tool of its foreign policy. Turkish law requires the pursuit of the "Grey wolves", but in reality they act quite freely.
Ankara is ready to use them abroad. We've already seen it in Syria. Turkish authorities can lose contact with the "wolves" and, if necessary, can rely on them. So their appearance in Ukraine or in Crimea is quite real. Moreover, the activities abroad are officially prohibited in Turkey organizations but are encouraged by the state.
— What other forces can rely on Turkey for its policy regarding Crimea?
— Turkey is making great efforts, creating elites in Turkic regions of Russia. Ankara relies on a very powerful system, built by followers of Nursi — the so-called "nurdzhular". Many in Turkey see this organization as a cult. We have in this sect, not only representatives of the Turkic peoples of Russia involved, but also the foreign workers are Muslims. For example, in St. Petersburg two underground mosques were closed, there were such cases in other regions of the country. At the head of these mosques stood always Turks, who obviously worked closely with the Turkish intelligence.
So Turkey has someone to rely on in Russia. The power of Turkish intelligence is comparable to that of Israel. It is headed by a professional soldier and political activist who doesn't speak about the methods of his work. The name of the head of intelligence is Hakan Fidan, who is close to Erdogan.
— How real is the threat of "wolves" and the Ukrainian radicals to Crimea?
— Their tradition consists of much bragging. But our special forces are also able to shoot. They are aware of the problem and are able to cope with the problem of physical security of facilities and equipment.
— What kind of action is Turkey ready to do to Crimea?
— Nasty, Ankara will do anything, on all fronts, including Crimea. But particularly, Turkey hopes for financial support of the radicals, whether by slogans and/or promises.
— What are the prospects of cooperation of Ukrainian nationalists with the "Grey wolves"?
— "Wolves" are dangerous for Ukraine itself. Their obsession with nationalism is through the roof. The "wolves" never had any respect for other people. Ideologically, to them, all Slavs are enemies. While the wolves shall agree with the Ukrainian nationalists, they always have time to turn against them. And the fact that they will do nothing to restrain themselves is well-known.
— Turkey has traditionally supported the Mejlis, the Director of the Central Museum of Tauris, political scientist Andrey Malygin said. Mustafa Dzhemilev enjoyed and continues to enjoy a high reputation in Turkey. Since the 1990's, the press has leaked information about some Crimean Tatar politicians that were associated with the "Grey wolves". However, conclusive evidence was not presented. But there were close ties between Crimean Tatars and Turkey, for anybody this is not a secret. In the nineties there were souvenir cards which had Crimea painted in Turkish colors.
— What about today..?
— Now I can't say much about any Turkish influence in the Crimea which would go beyond trade missions. I share the view of the President, which he expressed in his address to the Federal Assembly. We need to differentiate between the Turkish people, the traditional ties with him and the position of the current Turkish regime. The connection of Crimea and Turkey will always remain. But certainly not to the detriment of the inhabitants of the Peninsula.
In fact, regarding relations with Turkey, we have been waiting for all the consequences. In theory, Turkey can shut off the Straits to turn the Black sea into a "lake", causing the economic potential of Crimea to fall. But it would be fraught with serious international scandal, and the black sea coast of Turkey will suffer losses, — said a leading researcher of the Center for Asian and African studies of the Higher school of economy, Alexey Samples.
— Of course, Ankara can manipulate this part of the Ukrainian society. And create possible provocation and possible terrorist attacks. Now the Turks are counting on the energy blockade of Crimea, but the idea has fallen through. It is no coincidence that Kiev tried to win back the situation and to resume the supply of electricity. There may be attempts to provoke social unrest, taking advantage of the economic difficulties of Crimea. But if we carry on a consistent and reasonable policy, Turkey will have no effect on Crimea. Regarding a direct military confrontation, it will not happen.