The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey shocked the world. The murder was followed yesterday by talks in Beirut, between Turkey, Iran, and Russia. Recent reports complicated the situation as Jaish Al-Fatah, a Saudi-backed group, and the Gray Wolves, a Turkish precise nationalist movements are implicated to be involved in the assassination. However, claims that Jaish Al-Fatah was behind the assassination were denied by the group after an alleged memo claiming responsibility surfaced on Twitter.
According to the bipartisan policy center, “Jaish al-Fatah is an umbrella organization that unites ideologically distinct Islamic extremist opposition groups against ISIS and Assad regime forces.”
The Gray Wolves, an ultra-right once-youth movement, was also implicated in the attack. According to trackingterrorism.com, “The Grey Wolves was a Turkish ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist youth organization. It is the “unofficial militant arm” of the Nationalist Movement Party. According to Turkish authorities, the organization carried out 694 murders between 1974–1980.”
Al-Monitor’s Fehim Tastekin provided a general overview of the Gray Wolves and their entrance into the Syrian conflict. “Turkish involvement in the Syrian war has been heavily dominated by Islamist fighters, but the conflict has also drawn in an unlikely quarter — Turkish nationalists. The far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and its youth branch, the Idealist Hearths, have recently come into the spotlight with high-profile losses on the Syrian battlefield. The MHP is the main body of Turkey’s ultranationalist movement, also known as the Gray Wolves, whose hall of fame includes failed papal assassin Mehmet Ali Agca. The Alperen Hearths, the youth branch of the smaller Great Union Party, which represents the ultranationalist movement’s Islamist-leaning wing, are also visibly interested in the Syrian war.”
“The reason Turkish ultranationalists have gone to fight in Syria is the Turkmens, the ethnically Turkish minority that has increasingly found itself in Russia’s cro
The collusion between these two entities is unknown but, the murder’s relation to the War in Syria seems likely. The region is becoming more unpredictable and only predictable in its violence. Since the assassination, the image of the murderer has become a meme. The meme reminds us that we may live in a different and new society in the age of the internet.
The assassination and the exasperating nature of the Syrian civil war have led to the private meeting of Turkey with Russia. Russia gains influence as the necessity of the U.S. in the Middle East begins to look frailer. If Russia were able to carve out a deal with Turkey, America would look like a paper tiger on the world stage, for now. Hopefully, the killer’s motives and backing will not lose scrutiny while Russia increases its influence post-assassination.
Today, we hear little of an investigation into what drove the assassin to commit the act. It seems buried amidst the next drama, now the UN security council, Egypt, and a dueling foreign policy.
Featured image courtesy of The Daily Dot.