SYDNEY, Australia—The Armenian National Committee of Australia welcomed the firing of Member of Parliament Adem Somyurek from the Victorian Ministry, as well as his effective expulsion from the Australian Labor Party – including from its National Executive, especially given his connection and support to ultra-nationalist Turkish organisation “Ulku Ocaklari” – better known as the “Grey Wolves.”
A 60 Minutes report last Sunday exposed Somyurek’s industrial-level branch-stacking of Australian Labor Party branches in Victoria. Videos and recordings during a year-long investigation unveiled Somyurek allegedly signing up ethnic community representatives to branches, paying their membership fees, requesting the forging of signatures, using misogynistic and homophobic comments, among other offences currently being investigated.
What the report did not reveal is Somyurek’s support for the Australian branch of the Turkish ultranationalist political organization, the Grey Wolves, who espouse the same pan-Turkism ideology of their Ottoman Young Turk forebears – the same Young Turks who planned and carried out the Armenian Genocide, as well as the genocides of the Assyrian and Greek populations of the Ottoman Empire from 1915.
In June 2014, Izmir-born Somyurek inaugurated the Grey Wolves’ offices in Melbourne, as revealed in a report by Greek-Australian newspaper Neos Kosmos, which wrote: “The (illegal branch) registrations took place last year mainly in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, where the offices of the Victorian Grey Wolves are located.”
The Grey Wolves, which have a history of political violence and killings in Turkey, rose to international prominence following the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981 by one its members, Mehmet Ali Agca.
None of the above has any place in Australian politics and public affairs.
Immediately after the 60 Minutes exposé, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews expelled Somyurek from his Cabinet, where he served as Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Small Business.
Later, the Australian Labor Party’s National Executive accepted Somyurek’s resignation from the party and took steps to prevent his return to the ALP. Investigations into the extent of the branch-stacking have been launched and are ongoing.