First Turkish-led party initiative in Germany: DAVA

First Turkish-led party initiative in Germany: DAVA

By Can Çakır

For the first time in Germany, a new political organization was launched with the Turks pioneering: Democratic Alliance for Diversity and Awakening (Demokratischen Allianz für Vielfalt und Aufbruch – DAVA). DAVA sparked a debate in Germany, and some German media targeted DAVA with various allegations.

We interviewed Fatih Zingal, one of the leaders of the organization and a candidate for the European Parliament. The interview covers the topics of allegations against DAVA and the party’s short- and long-term goals.

With the title “Erdogan’s party is coming”, the Bild newspaper claimed that “Erdogan’s party will have 5 million voters in Germany”, referring to the Democratic Alliance for Diversity and Awakening (Demokratischen Allianz für Vielfalt und Aufbruch – DAVA).[1] Reporting that 2.5 million people will become German citizens with the dual citizenship law that will enter into force in April, Bild wrote the DAVA has been led by people close to Erdogan. The newspaper labelled the organization as “Erdogan’s hand inside the EU”.

Headline of Bild

DAVA announced that it intends to take part in the European elections on June 9. Deutsche Welle (DW) reported: “Germany’s newly founded ‘Democratic Alliance for Diversity and Awakening’ (DAVA) is currently a voters’ association, but it intends to run as a party in the European elections on June 9. This announcement in January triggered a heated debate in Germany, with some political observers accusing the new party of being no more than a mouthpiece of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”[2]

Also, Turkish journalist Can Dündar living in exile in Germany since 2016, targeted the organization referring to the words of Christian Democrat (CDU) MP Alexander Throm during the dual citizenship negotiations, “You allow dual citizenship, but in a few years, Erdogan’s extensions will be sitting in these seats instead of you”. Dündar said, “DAVA, the German branch of the AKP, has been established”. He added that this party project has created a new astonishment and that Germany is constantly in a position of defense because it cannot formulate a comprehensive policy towards Türkiye.[3]

We asked Fatih Zingal, one of the leaders of the organization and a candidate for the European Parliament, about these allegations.

First goal: the European Parliament

In the midst of global problems and polarization within Europe, the union is heading towards an important election. What is DAVA’s goal in this context?

In the first place, DAVA’s goal is to participate in the elections for the European Parliament. And to gain a significant number of seats in the European Parliament. This is our first short-term goal until June.

In the medium term, of course, we want to take part in the state elections and the elections in the Federal Republic of Germany. We want DAVA to be in the minds of our people as a brand all over Germany, from Hamburg to Munich, from Berlin to Cologne.

Why the need for DAVA? How did this idea, to establish such an organization, come about? What kind of responses you received from citizens till now?

As you know, our people are interested in politics, and they are also interested in German politics. Many of our people also served in German political parties. But then they resigned. I was a member of the Social Democratic Party for ten years.

We see that people are moving away from the current political parties. If this were not the case, if these parties had the ability to embrace these people, then there would be no need for a political organization like DAVA. So we are filling a political gap. Why are we discussed by the entire German media today? There are two reasons. One: the system parties have done a lot of wrong in the past, and two: today we are doing a lot of things right and thus get what we deserve.

The Tagesspiegel asked: Erdogan’s latest product: Will the new DAVA party be the long arm of the AKP in Europe?

Allegations of Bild

Many media outlets, Bild in particular, describe you as “extension of Erdogan”, “fundamentalist”, “nationalist” and “extremist”. What do you think about these?

There is no need to say too much about the Bild newspaper. They wrote these things without any evidence. It wants to restrict our political scope to the Türkiye politics and declare us as “bad people” to the German public opinion. We reject this. We continue on our way, and such publications will not distract us from our path.

The DENK Party in the Netherlands

Is your movement limited to Germany? Are there similar initiatives in other European countries?

Our movement is of course limited to Germany at the moment. But why shouldn’t it be a Europe-wide brand? I think we need to have a far-reaching vision. In this context, I would like to remind the DENK Party. I think it is an extremely successful party that achieved great success in the Netherlands. Today, they have three deputies. We want to do the same in Germany. And if we succeed, why not that be an exemplary for other countries?

Since 1961, our elders came to Germany from Türkiye in accordance with Recruitment Agreement. They became the architects of associations, mosques, buildings and everything here. They had come only with a bag, nothing more. Furthermore, they took the first step and started our story in Germany. We are doing the same in politics.

How are you preparing for the European Parliament elections?

We need to get on the ballot paper of the European Parliament elections. We need 4000 signatures for that. Furthermore, we are at the stage of fulfilling this prerequisite. After this stage, we want to start directly working on election campaigns. We want to work as a team throughout Germany, and we want to present our goals to our people.

A minority party?

Do you define yourself as a minority party or a migrants’ party? If so, is this realistic?

We have to be careful when we use the word “party” because we are still in the stage of a “political formation”. According to the German party law we are not yet a party.

No, we do not see DAVA as a minority party. We want to appeal to everyone. There are Germans and people of different nationalities in DAVA and we want to be a party that is open to all.

[1] https://www.bild.de/politik/inland/politik-inland/es-geht-ihr-um-mehr-macht-in-deutschland-jetzt-kommt-die-erdogan-partei-86935048.bild.html

[2] https://www.dw.com/en/germany-dava-party-woos-voters-with-turkish-roots/a-68195917

[3] https://table.media/berlin/news/can-duendar-erdogan-will-ueber-dava-einfluss-nehmen/

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April 2024