Press Releases | July 14, 2021

TDP Calls For U.S. Sanctions Against Extremist Group Grey Wolves

Calls on Treasury Secretary Yellen To Investigate Group Aligned With Erdogan

(Washington, D.C.) — The Turkish Democracy Project (TDP) calls for sanctions against the extremist group in Turkey, the Grey Wolves, because of its association with illegal cyberattacks and threatening tactics against targets in the U.S. and Europe. In a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the TDP called for the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to investigate the Grey Wolves and impose sanctions on the group by adding them to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN).

In the letter to Secretary Yellen, the TDP outlines how a recent cyberattack that targeted the organization reflects how the Grey Wolves perpetuate hostile acts against voices of dissent:

“Action against the Grey Wolves and others subject to legal censure abroad is warranted. European Union (EU) countries have taken action against the Grey Wolves, including France banning the group in 2020.”

“The Grey Wolves have utilized cyberattacks in the past and its members are generally protected from prosecution in countries like Turkey and Russia through the decriminalization of their tactics. Its behavior is designed to silence criticism of President Erdogan. He has brutally repressed dissent inside Turkey and that effort has expanded to include Europe.”

“Unfortunately, TDP and its associated persons appear to be the beachhead of this malicious behavior in the United States. We are concerned, that left unchecked, Turkish cyber and other criminal activity will grow in the United States.”

To view a copy of the full TDP letter to Secretary Yellen, please click here.

“The Grey Wolves are President Erdogan’s proxy force of violence, aggression and suppression. They operate with impunity in Turkey,” said TDP CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace. “The Grey Wolves have attempted to extend their reach into Europe. Our allies in Europe have responded by banning the Grey Wolves and by initiating legal censure. The Grey Wolves are brutal extremists who do Erdogan’s dirty bidding. They must be sanctioned here in the United States.”

“For years, Turkey’s Grey Wolves movement has espoused radicalism and violence to an extent that has repeatedly and correctly drawn condemnation throughout Europe,” said Norman T. Roule, a veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency for more than three decades overseeing programs in the Middle East and a member of TDP’s advisory council. “The Grey Wolves have discouraged free speech regarding Turkish policies and threatened violence against Azeris, Armenians and Kurds. The European Union’s May 2021 resolution asking that the group be considered for designation as a terrorist group speak underscores the need for Ankara to take steps to end its support for a movement that undermines European stability.”

Since last year, the Grey Wolves have been banned in many countries. A recent report for the European Parliament declared the Grey Wolves a “racist right-wing extremist group” and called on the European Parliament and its member states to add the Grey Wolves to the E.U. terrorist list, ban their activity in E.U. countries and counter their influence “which is especially threatening for … anyone they consider an opponent.”


The TDP was the target of a cyberattack and death threats after its launch on June 23, 2021. Immediately following the attack, TDP commissioned an outside investigation to consolidate information and identify responsible parties. TDP referred the matter and the conclusions of its investigation to FBI Director Chris Wray and to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking them to initiate a full investigation of the sophisticated, multi-pronged cyberattack against TDP that included death threats directed at U.S. citizens working for and with the organization.

These unlawful cyberattacks originated from Turkey and involved perpetrators aligned with the Grey Wolves.

To view a full copy of TDP’s referral to Director Wray, please click here.

To view a full copy of TDP’s referral to Attorney General Garland, please click here.