German media is reporting that the new head of a pro-Turkish lobbying group has also been a member of a Turkish ultranationalist movement. According to the Tagesschau report, Köksal Kus is the new head of the Union of International Democrats:
January 27, 2021 …relatively little is known so far about the new man at the helm of UID [the Union of International Democrats]. Köksal Kus was born in Turkey in 1960 and has lived in Germany since 1979. He studied mechanical engineering and is apparently active as an entrepreneur in the construction industry. So far, he has been a member of the board of UID. According to the Turkish newspaper “Avrupatürkgazetesi,” Kus was an active member for several years of the “Föderation der Türkisch-Demokratischen Idealistenvereine in Deutschland e.V.”, an organization that, according to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Baden-Württemberg, is a “gathering place for extreme nationalists with a Turkish migration background” and is also part of the “Gray Wolves” movement.
Translated by DeepL with edits.
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The Union of International Democrats (UID, formerly known as the Union of European Turkish Democrats) describes itself as a voluntary NGO founded in 2004 that operates in several European countries. Its purposes include increasing the economic, political, and social activities of Turks and “sister communities” abroad without alienating their identities and values as well as combatting Islamophobia. German media has described the UID as a lobbying group for President Erdoğan and his AKP political party that emphasizes Turkish values and customs. The German Office for the Protection of the Constitution monitors the UID, describing it as “nationalist” and incompatible with Germany’s free democratic order.
The Gray Wolves are a right-wing ultranationalist Turkish youth and street movement founded in the 1960s and often described as “affiliated” with the National Action Party, the AKP’s government coalition partner. Their ideology is pan-Turkist, seeking to unite all Turkic peoples in the world, and secular. France has banned the Gray Wolves, citing “extremely violent actions, disseminating “extremely violent threats” and creating “incitement to hatred against authorities and Armenians,” and some German politicians have called on Germany to do the same. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied the existence of the group while at the same time objecting to the ban.
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