Islam is an integral part of Germany, says Erdoğan's offshoot party

Erdoğan Islam

In his manifesto, he places great emphasis on a positive image of Islam but has little to say about foreign policy

Protecting Islam, strengthening "traditional values", and a strong welfare state are key positions included in the program of the founding Democratic Alliance for Diversity and Awakening (DAVA) party, which is seen as an offshoot of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development party and aspires to reach out to Muslim immigrants in Germany.

According to West German Radio WDR, what distinguishes DAVA from other German parties is its special emphasis on "combating Islamophobia".

In the 12-page programmatic declaration, it is stated that "just as the East and the West are inextricably linked, so we also recognise that Islam is an integral part of Germany ".

For this purpose, the party wants to influence the educational program in schools, the media program's content and the public administration's action, with the aim of "promoting a more realistic and positive image of Islam."

Indicatively, in the chapter "Culture and Media", it is pointed out that "wrong impressions about Islam and Muslims in school and history books must be corrected and replaced by the correct information."

However, it is not specified what these are nor who will determine them, although the DAVA leadership indicates that the views of conservative Islamic associations are likely to prevail.

The head of the party, Fatih Zingal, was an executive of DUI, the German organisation of the AKP, and had a central role in organising Erdoğan's election campaign in Europe through the communities operating around the mosques. Ali Ihsan Unlu, who is likely to be second on the EU ballot list, comes from the DITIB mosque network, which is directly controlled by the Turkish religious authority Diyanet.

Next is Mustafa Yoldas, a former leader of the political Islam organisation "Milli Görüs", which is monitored by the Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution and classified as "a legal organisation of Islam, with the aim of helping to shape the social and political system for the benefit of an Islamic core order and value system and establish its agenda in politics and society."

In all this, DAVA does not distance itself from militant Islamism and aspires to promote the adoption of "legal measures", for example, by including hostility towards religions and especially Islamophobia, in the official protection against discrimination. No distinction is made between political and radical or armed Islamism, and in the party's program, there is no specific reference to internal security issues.

Anti-Semitism is rejected outright, along with racism and other forms of exclusion and discrimination.

"Our goal is a Europe in which all people have equal rights, regardless of their skin colour, origin or religion, and can live without discrimination and racism," it says.

In the chapter "Protection of the Family", there is talk of "gender ideology" and of the "traditional family", while a commitment to "protection of unborn life" is included. Regarding the rights of LGBTQI people, it is emphasised that "while DAVA recognises the importance of tolerance and the protection of individual freedoms, we emphasise the importance of traditional family structures as the foundation of society."

In particular, it states, "We support a society in which the family enjoys respect and is projected as a cornerstone, and we are committed to educational, social and health policies that serve this goal." Consequently, such a policy could conflict with existing laws such as "marriage for all" and the anti-discrimination law already in place in Germany.

DAVA also calls for an increase in pensions and points to the Netherlands as an example, where the pension amounts to 89.2% of the last salary while claiming better conditions for children and the elderly on the verge of poverty and in favour of faster and cheaper health care, without, however, providing corresponding fiscal solutions.

In foreign policy, DAVA refers almost exclusively to the Middle East and is committed to a "two-state solution" in the region. "We support the creation of a sovereign, viable and independent Palestinian state that will exist peacefully alongside Israel." It also calls for "an end to all activities that could jeopardise a two-state solution."

The 12-page text of principles does not reference German-Turkish relations or Germany's ties with Russia, Ukraine and China. The "active role" of the European Union in international politics is highlighted, but NATO and the German armed forces are not mentioned.

The party, founded in January as a "voter union," aspires to participate in the June 9 European elections. He must have submitted 4,000 signatures to the Federal Central Electoral Commission by March 18.

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