Turkey’s nationalist Grey Wolves vice president threatens opposition journos

Burak Kılıç, the deputy head of Turkey’s ultranationalist Grey Wolves organization, has threatened oppositional journalists covering the murder trial of Sinan Ateş through a post on social media.

The ultranationalist Grey Wolves (Ülkü Ocakları) group is organized across Turkey, and is closely associated with the MHP.

Duvar English

The deputy chairman of the Turkish ultranationalist Grey Wolves group, Burak Kılıç, on July 6 targeted oppositional journalists İsmail Saymaz, Erk Acarer, Barış Terkoğlu, Alican Uludağ, and Timur Soykan in a social media post referencing "bullets." 

The journalists closely follow and report on the murdered former Grey Wolves leader Sinan Ateş’s ongoing trial.

Kılıç shared a post on the X platform that featured the photographs of the five journalists and stated, "We are not fountain pens filled with EU and US funds, we are lead (synonymous with “bullet” in Turkish) pencils. And you will see that pencils will one day prevail!" He later removed the post.

Kılıç removed the threatening post after backlash.

Soykan responded to Kılıç's post by highlighting his alleged involvement in the lead-up to Ateş's murder. Soykan reminded that Kılıç took photos of wife Ayşe Ateş's house and sent them to former Grey Wolves executive Tolgahan Demirbaş before Ateş was killed. 

“We know what he means by 'lead pencil' from the ambush set for Sinan Ateş. Our pens write only for the public's right to know. Their fountain pens are filled with blood," Soykan concluded. 

Terkoğlu responded to Kılıç, "You cannot be a lead pencil; you can only be a lead soldier! You call yourself a nationalist, but you neither know your nation's language nor defend its culture, nor share your bread with your fellow citizens. Your idea of a nation is gathering ten people to commit crimes."

Uludağ also commented on Kılıç's post, saying, "There is a large crime organization involved. Burak Kılıç, a murder suspect, is merely a toy soldier and a pawn of this gang," referencing past murders he was involved in.

Uludağ continued, "The judiciary is responsible for Burak Kılıç's threats against journalists. If the prosecution had acted against this murder suspect, he wouldn't be making these threats. The judiciary will also be responsible for what happens next. If the leaders of the crime organization giving orders to Burak Kılıç think that we will stop writing about the Sinan Ateş murder and other cases, they are gravely mistaken."

The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) Board of Directors issued a statement condemning Kılıç’s threats against journalists, calling upon the Interior Ministry to act.

"It is a crime for politicians to threaten journalists. It is also a crime for those responsible for taking precautions against these threats to do nothing. We remind that journalists, like all citizens, need protection for their life and work safety; we publicly announce our solidarity with all our threatened colleagues," concluded the statement. 

The murder trial for the former head of the Grey Wolves organization began on July 1. 

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

Members of the Ateş family held that he was murdered with the knowledge of the government-ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Grey Wolves officials. The MHP is closely affiliated with the group, which has rendered the murder trial politically charged.