A member of staff at a Berlin refugee centre wearing a cap with ultra-nationalist Turkish symbols on it has aroused public concern in Germany, a country that provides refuge to Kurds and other dissidents fleeing persecution in Turkey.
Berlin’s refugee authority swiftly addressed the incident involving a member of the security staff displaying the extremist insignia. The employee, working for WeWatch Security Service GmbH, was spotted wearing a cap adorned with Orkhon runes, symbolic to the Turkish ultra-nationalist movement known as the Grey Wolves.
The Grey Wolves, recognised as the largest far-right faction in Germany, are notorious for their ultra-nationalist and anti-Semitic views. They advocate a pan-Turkish empire, “Turan”, and in Turkey they have historically employed violence against minorities and dissidents, particularly targeting Kurdish, Armenian and Jewish communities. Where the Grey Wolves are established abroad, they target the same groups, including in Germany.
The incident has raised alarm about the safety of refugees in Berlin, especially those fleeing persecution from countries such as Turkey where the Grey Wolves are active. The Berlin State Office for Refugee Affairs, part of the Senate Department for Integration, Labour and Social Services, has been questioned on its employment of security personnel with such affiliations.
Civan Akbulut, a member of the Essen Integration Council, highlighted the gravity of the situation, sharing his own experiences of receiving threats from supporters of the Grey Wolves. The presence of such symbols in a refugee centre, he argued, could intimidate those seeking sanctuary from political oppression.
Following Akbulut’s revelations, the Berlin State Office for Refugee Affairs assured the public that the matter would be dealt with immediately. “Thank you for the tip. We will clarify the consequences with the employee today. Rest assured that we do not tolerate the display of politically motivated symbols in our facilities,” stated the authority.