Germany to ban fascist Turkish salute


German politicians plan to pass legislation banning the ultra-nationalist salute of the Turkish Grey Wolves movement.

Lawmakers in Berlin say the “wolf” hand salute that is a trademark of membership of the Grey Wolves is reminiscent of salute used by Adolf Hilter and his followers in Nazi Germany, Deutsche Welle reported.

"Any form of fascism is inhuman and a threat to our liberal society," said Christian Democrat (CDU) politician Christoph de Vries to the German daily Bild.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU have secured the cooperation of the Left party to outlaw the gesture in a rare show of unity, the German news service said. The Austrian government is working on similar legislation.

The salute caused controversy in Germany last year when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu used it during a visit to the Turkish consulate in Hamburg, Deutsche Welle said. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also used it during electioneering.

The Grey Wolves are an offshoot of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP), which supports Erdogan’s government. They rose to prominence in street violence in the months preceding a military coup in 1980, when the group engaged in deadly clashes with leftist groups and Kurds.

Another Turkish celebrity to use the salute is Fatih Terim, manager of Turkish football side Galatasaray and former national team coach. The Grey Wolves are also synonymous with Mafia activities in Turkey, including drug smuggling, and the illegal killings of Kurds and other perceived opponents of Turkish state policy.