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Why the wolf salute is not punishable in Germany


The so-called wolf salute is an identification gesture of the Turkish “Grey Wolves”. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies the movement as right-wing extremist and is monitoring it. The wolf salute is not yet banned.

By Alena Lagmöller, SWR

The “Grey Wolves” are a right-wing extremist Turkish movement. They advocate “ethnic nationalism”, idealize a Greater Turkish Empire and act against minorities, especially against Alevis, Kurds and Armenians.

In Germany, the “Grey Wolves” are the largest right-wing extremist movement with more than 12,000 followers and are monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. They are not banned, however – that would be the prerequisite for making the wolf salute a criminal offense.

Wolf salute not yet punishable

Without a ban on the “Grey Wolves”, their wolf salute is not punishable. However, there have been repeated calls in the past for a ban on the “Grey Wolves”. However, the requirements for a ban on the association are high: the association's purposes or activities would have to contravene criminal law or be directed against the constitutional order or the idea of ​​international understanding.

Ministry of the Interior in the responsibility

A ban on the association would have to be issued by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. However, this has not yet taken action. The legal situation is different in Austria. The wolf salute is on a list of banned extremist symbols. It is a criminal offence to show the salute and thereby endorse or spread the ideas of the “Grey Wolves”.

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