SPD’s German Turkish co-chair takes aim at NPD

SPD’s German Turkish co-chair takes aim at NPD

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
SPD’s German Turkish co-chair takes aim at NPD


Aydan Özoğuz, the new German Turkish deputy head of Germany’s social democrats, has vowed to take down country’s biggest far-right party in her first task in her new role.

“A couple of years ago there was an effort to ban the NPD [National Democratic Party] but it couldn’t happen because of the party laws in Germany. This time we will do our best try for it,” Özoğuz, who was selected as deputy head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Dec. 5, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview yesterday.

“We want to reveal the hate-related violence and bring to light attacks against foreigners [linked to ultra-nationalism]. The failures of the ministries [to prevent or protect minorities from such attacks] should also be disclosed,” she said.

Özoğuz received 89 percent of the vote during a SPD congress Dec. 5 and was chosen as one of five vice presidents of the SDP. Özoğuz received 427 of 494 votes to become the first Turk and first foreigner to become a deputy leader of the SPD.

Özoğuz, who was trained as a linguist, is a second-generation Turk in Germany and the daughter of a merchant family who imported nuts from Turkey to Germany in the 1960s.

Özoğuz said SPD Chair Sigmar Gabriel raised the prospect of nominating her as vice president two years ago during the party congress.

“In a political party in Germany, it takes a very long time for foreigners to assume higher positions. In order to make the process shorter, Gabriel asked me if I would like to a make step forward like this, and I accepted. However, I was not expecting to get such a high proportion of votes,” Özoğuz said.
Özoğuz said she would prioritize policies regarding integration, foreigners and families. “Our first aim as a party is, of course, gaining the chancellorship. Then my aim will be to pursue a better integration policy for immigrants.”

Özoğuz described German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) integration policies and policies toward foreigners as merely symbolic and only for show.

“There are also members of the CDU who have been constantly alienating foreigners in the country. However, we want to give the right of dual citizenship and the right to vote to foreigners,” Özoğuz said.