Indeed, there is no organization officially registered as the Gray Wolves, which has led many to play down the French ban as posturing. This, however, does not preclude judicial action against the Gray Wolves, based on symbols and signs. Darmanin conceded that the Gray Wolves were not a formal association but insisted they formed groups that meet regularly, are connected to each other and act as an organized body.
In Turkey, the Gray Wolves are organized as the youth branches of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), called the Idealist Hearths. The MHP has been a staunch political ally of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in recent years. Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, is perhaps the most notorious of the Gray Wolves internationally. The movement has various avatars in Europe, such as the umbrella group called the Federation of Democratic Idealist Turkish Associations in France. Its members are active mostly in Lyon, Dijon, Strasbourg and Grenoble.