Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) posed for a group photo with students showing right-wing extremist signs. The picture published by the minister’s office on June 15 shows Faeser in front of more than 100 young people who are apparently promoting the “constitutional students” project.

In the last row, a student does the wolf salute of Turkish right-wing extremists. The hand sign with two spread fingers symbolizes a wolf and has always been the greeting of the fascists in Turkey.

There are open and clandestine individual clubs from the spectrum of the “grey wolves”, the term is usually used as a collective term. Gray wolves thus refers to the movement of anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-Kurdish, anti-Armenian and anti-Greek right-wing radicals in Turkey.

Many Gray Wolves are calling for a great empire of Turkic speaking peoples, which is said to reach far beyond present-day Turkey. Thousands of murders in Turkey are attributed to gray wolves.

France’s government banned Gray Wolves associations in 2020: Turkish nationalists had previously attracted attention there with attacks on French people of Armenian origin, whose ancestors had fled to France after the 1915 genocide. In 2019, the Austrian government banned the symbols of the gray wolves, i.e. the wolf salute, as well as the three crescents that are often shown. In Germany, the Gray Wolves are legal.

The Faeser picture also shows two students showing the “Rabia” sign, which is widespread among Islamists. Rabia means “four” in Arabic, so the symbol is often represented as “R4bia.” The greeting originated in Cairo in 2013, when the Egyptian army broke up a blockade by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood on Rabia al-Adawiya Square.

In principle, the picture shows very aptly what kind of ways of thinking unfortunately also exist in a democracy like ours. It is all the more important not simply to use such projects as a political pat on the back, but to conduct actual enlightenment.

Another young person in the photo with the minister poses with the pointing finger, which is common among Salafists, including “Islamic State”.

The minister stands in front of the students on the recording, she wrote via Twitter: “It is important that young people get involved in socio-political matters. But young people have to find a way to get involved. That is why the project of the constitution students is very important to me. It creates spaces, encounters and role models to experience democracy.”

In the meantime, Faeser has responded to the allegations: “The symbols shown by some students in the picture are unacceptable, I strongly condemn this. We are in talks with the project sponsor about this.”