Thursday the Dutch media (NL) reported that two Turkish parliament candidates (Ayhan Tonca and Osman Elmaci) for the Christian Democrats (CDA) refuse to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915. This is all the more sailliant, since Camille Eurlings (NL), CDA MEP and a member of the EU Foreign comittee, reviewing Turkey's status as candidate member of the EU, is highly critical of Turkey's own refusal to come to terms with that atrocity.
On Friday, however, Trouw (NL) reported that this phenomenon is not limited to the CDA, but runs the entire political spectrum from GroenLinks (very left), through PvdA (Labour) and CDA, to the VVD (liberal conservative). In an e-mail discussion on a yahoo-group, Turkish members from left to right agree on attempting to thwart the motion of the ChristenUnie (Christian Union, CU) that calls for legistalation on 'insulting denial of the Armenian genocide'. The proposed measures range from demonstrations and 'deep discussions' with CU members of parliament to 'letting the CU feel it is an insignificant little party and influence the larger parties on this issue'. Trouw notes that while participants in the discussion are affiliated to parties covering the entire spectrum of Dutch politics, in Turkish political terms they all share the same rightwing nationalist and religious background.
In the mean time, both Turkish CDA candidates have undersigned a declaration (NL) stating that "had we been members of parliament at the time the motion regarding the Aremian genocide was tabled, we would have underwritten the CDA stance on this issue and would have voted for the CU motion". But this turn-about might be considered a little too quick and expedient (NL). One is left wondering if we are seeing a sly bit of taqiyya-in-action here. Ironically, the statement by the two CDA candidates has a Turkish nationalist lawyer researching the possibility to endict the two in Turkey for 'unlawful' statements denigrating Turkey (yes, in Turkey that is a punishable offense).
From the Trouw article it is easy to infer that all these candidates from all these different Dutch political parties are not so much working for the benefit of Dutch society, but rather that they are activists for the Turkish interests, trying to secure Turkish membership if the EU and sabotaging any activity that might cast doubt on Turkeys readiness to join the EU. So, basically we are talking about foreign infiltration of Dutch politics. Somebody better call someone.
continued after the break...
[UPDATE001] I was in a bit of a rush when I wrote the post above, which left a couple of obvious things unsaid:
If what Trouw reported about the yahoo-group is true, then what we have is a major Turkish movement insinuating themselves on Dutch politics, irrespective of values they may or may not share with the political parties they nestle in. It would seem to me that each of these candidates underwrites the principles of their party of choice only to the extent that they get into a position where they are able to significantly influence Dutch policy making. That on other key issues GroenLinks and say the VVD are diametrically opposed seems to be of no concern to these people. Which ought to give anyone pause.
And it suggests that in their run on 'allochtone' candidates to woo the allochtone city vote in the elections, next November 22nd, all Dutch parties have not been paying attention to the background and worldview of their pet allochtone candidates. Given the description of the group given in the Trouw piece (nationalistic and religious) the problem might not be just a problem with Turkish influence. Has political correctness allowed a Trojan Horse into our political system?
Ayhan Tonca(NL), for instance, is chairman of the Islamic Foundation Netherlands, an extension of the Turkish ministry for religious affairs Dinayet that manages mosques in the Netherlands. He has called for legislation on religiously insulting language, said of the Danish Mo-toons: 'It is impermissible to use the prophet Mohammed in a cartoon' and 'They incite radicals to attack western society' (as if that were a completely normal reaction). More recently Tonca was critical of the Popes lecture in Regensburg. Condemnation of the violent reactions to both the Mo-toons and the Popes Regenburg Lecture was not something heard from mr. Tonca.
Initially the Turkish candidates were defended by CDA chair Marja van Bijsterveldt, who said that even though it was not the party line, she respected the point of view of Tonca and Elmaci. Apparently that proved to be a tinsy bit too PC, even for the CDA cadres, seeing the statement both candidates were forced to undersign (yes, 'forced'. I don't believe for a second that Tonca all of a sudden has seen the light). Yet it is unbelievable that an established political party (and a 'christian' party at that) has the temerity to suggest that the point of view of both gentlemen was acceptable. What if they'd not been Turkish, but German, and speaking of that other genocide? Would Marja van Bijsterveldt have reacted so blithely as well? What are the political consequences of such a complete and utter breakdown of morals?
In a wider sense, it seems there is quite a bit of ambivalence within the CDA with respect to Islam and integration. On the one hand we have Bijsterveldt, and (ex-) Justice minister Donner, and minister of Development Cooperation Agnes van Aardenne, who seem to view islam as a natural ally to Christians in the 'fight' against secularism, but who seem to be oblivious to islam itself, preferring to believe that it is some form of oriental protestantism or something. On the other hand we have men like Camille Eurlings and CDA fraction-leader Maxime Verhagen, who seem to be more aware of the problems islam and allowing a major islamic entity into the EU might pose. I would think the decision to have Tonca and Elmaci sign the above mentioned statement was forced by the Eurlings/Verhagen camp within the CDA.
This ambivalence is not limited to the CDA of course, but it this whole episode proves that the CDA in particular, and Dutch politics in general, is still not equipped to deal with the influence the world-wide Ummah is exerting in ever greater measures on Dutch public life and Dutch policy. The question is now: Are we seeing the first contours of a struggle for power within the CDA between appeasers and defenders?