The Denk Partij (Think Party) is the first political force in Europe established by migrants for migrants, but it is attracting controversy for their approach to the Turkish regime, Israel and anti-Semitism, and the Armenian genocide.
Although the party has existed as a theoretical concept in the Netherlands since 2014 when two Turkish origin Muslim members of the Dutch Labour party were expelled over the influence of Turkish religious organisations in the Netherlands, it has been gaining traction this year. Breaking the threshold of 1,000 members, they now officially qualify as a genuine political party with two members of parliament, and are eligible for state subsidy.
Eyeing the forthcoming 2017 Dutch elections, the party hopes to tap into the significant migrant origin population of the Netherlands — well over one million people in a nation of just 17 million. By appealing particularly to the Turkish population, the largest ethnic group after Dutch in the country, they hope to take at least five seats in parliament.
It is reported the party will campaign to establish a national ‘Racism Register’, similar to a sex offenders register, which will catalogue Dutch citizens who do not show sufficient respect to immigrants.
But with this increased prominence, comes increased scrutiny. The party made headlines after they compared Dutch anti-Islamisation campaigner and parliamentarian Geert Wilders to “Adolf Hitler” and a “cancer”. In return, Mr. Wilders has called the party “a regurgitated piece of Halal meat”, reports Die Welt.
Speaking in an interview with Netherlands Now, the party’s two MPs were forced to defend their record on Turkey, and a failure to “pursue Western norms and values”. On their refusal to condemn the arrest of a fellow Dutch citizen, Turkish-origin journalist Ebru Umar by the Turkish authorities last month, Tunahan Kuzu MP asked in reply “what’s wrong with saying everyone should abide by the law?
“Ebru Umar must abide by Turkish law in Turkey”.
Ms. Umar was arrested in Turkey while on holiday, after criticising the Turkish government’s clampdown on dissenting voices and criticism from the press in an article. The Dutch foreign minister later told citizens that if they Insulted the Turkish government and then travelled there afterwards, he could issue no guarantees to render assistance, as reported by Breitbart London at the time.
Elaborating on the point, fellow member of parliament and Think Party member Selçuk Öztürk told the website “freedom is quite selective”, and that if French anti-Semitic ‘comedian’ Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala could be arrested for his routines, there was no reason why television satirist Jan Böhmermann shouldn’t suffer the same.
The comic is presently being subjected to an unusual trial in Germany at the behest of Chancellor Angela Merkel for penning a satirical poem that accused Turkish leader Erdogan for being a goat-raping paedophile.
Responding to a blunt question about whether the often repeated criticism of the party that they are “the long arm of Ankara” in the Netherlands is true, the men laughed, saying their membership is growing so fast — “100 new members a day” — they have no need for foreign money or influence.
Mr. Kuzu told the interviewer that even if they did choose to disassociate themselves from the Turkish regime they still would not be trusted by the mainstream, as they had been “discredited” for not “sharing the views of the dominant white crowd”.
The party has received a major boost this month, as Dutch migrant television and radio personality Sylvana Simons has joined the group, and stated her intention to run for parliament on their ticket next year. The Suriname born dancer has spoken out against racism and traditional Dutch culture including the annual Christmas-time traditional character Zwarte Piet (black Pete).
The character, who has a sooty black face from helping father Christmas deliver present down chimneys, has been a target of anti-racism campaigners for some years. As well as seeking to combat the tradition, Ms. Simons is said to be on a mission to “decolonise” Dutch politics.
Local news reports concerns her entry into politics will do little more than “fan the flames of immigrant discontent”.