Sinan Ateş’s wife accuses four MHP politicians of murder

Ayşe Ateş, the wife of the former Grey Wolves head Sinan Ateş who was assassinated in 2022, has accused four senior MHP officials of the murder. “My husband told me, ‘İzzet Ulvi Yönter and Semih Yalçın instructed Ahmet Yiğit Yıldırım and Olcay Kılavuz to kill me. They are looking for a killer’,” she said during the hearing.

Ceren Bayar / DUVAR

During the fourth day of the first hearing of the Sinan Ateş case held on July 4, Ayşe Ateş accused four far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) politicians of her husband’s murder.

Ateş was assassinated by two people on a motorcycle while leaving a building on Dec. 30, 2022, in the capital Ankara.

He was the head of Grey Wolves, a group of far-right ultra-nationalist Turks known as “Ülkü Ocakları” in Turkish, between 2019 and 2020. The group is affiliated with the MHP. Some of Ateş’s family members have been arguing that he was murdered with the knowledge of MHP and Grey Wolves officials. 

After the suspects’ testimonies during the week, Ayşe Ateş spoke at the hearing.

“I know very well how the process works in the Grey Wolves and the MHP. At that time, they threatened (Sinan Ateş and) posted (on social media that) 'Sinan Ateş had people beaten up.' Yes, Sinan Ateş did these things. I confronted Sinan and said, 'You are an academic, does this suit you?’' He said, 'I follow the instructions from the MHP. If I don't, they will touch me too.' After that, my husband was dismissed from his post in a hurry, without any justification,” Ateş said.

The Grey Wolves have been banned in several European countries due to their constant attacks. They had reportedly beaten several journalists over their comments criticizing the MHP.

“My husband told me, ‘İzzet Ulvi Yönter and Semih Yalçın instructed Ahmet Yiğit Yıldırım and Olcay Kılavuz to kill me. They are looking for a killer,” Ateş said, accusing them of the murder.

İzzet Ulvi Yönter has been an MHP MP for four terms, whereas Semih Yalçın is the deputy leader of the MHP. Olcay Kılavuz was an MHP MP at the time, reportedly involved in the case. Ahmet Yiğit Yıldırım is the current head of the Grey Wolves.

“They say 'we are above the state'. They insult the honor of the state. They obfuscate evidence. Why does the state protect me? That means the real killers are out there, so the state protects me,” Ateş added.

The fourth day of the first hearing once again saw the attendance of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel.

Meanwhile, the court released 10 people from prison on July 5. The court also rejected the request to hear the witnesses regarding the detention of Tolgahan Demirbaş, one of the former executives of the Grey Wolves, at then-MHP deputy Olcay Kılavuz’s house on the grounds that it would not contribute to the trial.

The court’s stance has been regarded as it trying not to touch the political ties of the case, especially regarding the government-ally MHP.