Kuzu wants to be on the list at Denk

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Tunahan Kuzu is still running for Parliament on behalf of Denk. He announced this on Wednesday evening via Turkish media, later in the evening he will also announce it via his Dutch Facebook. The party’s co-founder had said in March that he would not return after the parliamentary elections.

With his announcement, the power struggle that Kuzu and the other Think founder Selçuk Öztürk openly fought in the spring has now been finally won by Kuzu. Öztürk, who, in addition to being a member of the House of Representatives, was also chairman of the party board, indicated earlier that he would not return as a parliamentarian. During the members’ meeting in June, he also resigned the chairmanship of the board. With that Öztürk now disappears from the scene, but Kuzu stays on.

Call from departments

It is no surprise that Kuzu will stay in The Hague. Last week, twelve of the thirteen local Thinking departments sent an open letter calling on Kuzu to reconsider his decision and stand for election. The letter was initiated by two Rotterdam councilors, Enes Yiğit, a confidant of Kuzu, and Stephan van Baarle, former employee of Kuzu in the Lower House. The only department that did not sign the call is Roermond: the home port of Selcuk Öztürk.

Transparent, several critical members cite the call to Kuzu, which was also heard at the Denk members’ meeting last Saturday. They think the campaign is a preconceived plan to see how much support there is for his candidacy. And to have Kuzu return to the list without losing face – this Wednesday is the last day for people to apply. The members do not want their name in the newspaper, because they fear that they will be held accountable for their loyalty when they criticize the party.

The members also see advantages in a place for Kuzu on the list. He is known and can draw votes, not unimportant now that the party is at a loss in the polls. Denk now has three seats in the House of Representatives, but scores between zero and two seats in polls. One of the scenarios is that Kuzu, if Denk gets one seat, is chosen with preferential votes and thus expels party leader Farid Azarkan.

At the same time, there are fears within the party that by keeping Kuzu on, the tensions that turned the party upside down in the spring will not disappear. Öztürk initially tried to cheat Kuzu by threatening to expose an old affair of Kuzu, which, moreover, may have been ‘cross-border’. A passed motion to open an independent investigation has not yet been followed up. After that, the two MPs, together with the current party leader Farid Azarkan, went rolling over the street. In May the three men settled their argument.

Dissatisfaction with new governance

This weekend there was again a stir in the party. A new board was appointed during a members’ meeting, but because not all members could vote, experts believe that the appointment is unlawful. The question of why it was not possible to vote digitally, as was previously the case during a members’ meeting in June, the party has still not answered.

Also read: Expert and members question the appointment of the Denk board

In addition, members complained about the composition of the board, which now consists of three men of Turkish descent and is therefore not very diverse. Diversity would have been sought, but not found, was the answer to a question from the audience. That is not correct: two women with political experience of non-Turkish descent have applied for a board position.





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