Press Releases


Turkey’s European Championship matches

UEFA should impose stadium bans for showing the wolf salute

On the occasion of the start of the round of 16 of the European Football Championship, a match between Turkey and Austria in the Leipzig Red Bull Arena tomorrow (July 2), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls on the European Football Association (UEFA) not to tolerate showing the right-wing extremist “wolf salute” during European Championship matches.

“During the Turkish national team’s recent European Championship matches, some of the Turkish fans had showed the salute of the ‘Gray Wolves’. This happened repeatedly and was broadcast live on TV. UEFA should take a clear stand against displaying right-wing extremist symbols – and impose a stadium ban for showing the wolf salute,” demanded Dr. Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East Consultant, in Göttingen today.  

The wolf salute is a symbol of Turkish right-wing extremists, also known as the ‘Grey Wolves’. The supporters of this ultra-nationalist extremist group aim to create a Greater Turkish Empire, stretching from Vienna to China. “For many Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians/Aramaeans/Chaldaeans, Greek, Christians, Alevis, Yazidis, and Jews, the wolf salute stands for a long history of murder, expulsion, and oppression. UEFA must guarantee that no one, regardless of their origin, feels threatened in the stadiums,” the Middle East expert said.

“It is understandable and welcome that the supporters of the Turkish national team celebrate the successes of their team. However, showing the wolf salute has nothing to do with peaceful and legitimate celebration – and, most importantly, it harms the majority of the peaceful fans,” Sido emphasized. 

The supporters of the Grey Wolves deny the genocide crimes against the Armenians and other Christians in the era of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, and they are responsible for numerous pogroms and other crimes against Armenians, other Christian communities, and against Alevis and Yazidis – both within and outside Turkey. Over the past 50 years, Turkish ultranationalists became increasingly involved in crimes against the Kurdish people. In connection with the Israeli-Arab conflict, the Grey Wolves also incited hatred against Jews and Israel. Over the last few decades, the ideology of the Grey Wolves also mixed with extreme Sunni Islamism, making it dangerous for women and left-wing democratic movements.