AKP proxy DENK party wins 3 seats in Dutch elections

The Turkey-backed DENK Party won three seats in the elections held in Netherlands on March 17, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday.

The DENK (Equal in Turkish) party had three seats in parliament since 2017 before the elections. The party introduced 21 candidates, most of whom are Turkish origin, Anadolu Agency said.

The DENK party drops 0.1 % of the vote and stands at 1.8 %.

Leader Farid Azarkan Netherlands said he was worried the country was moving more to the right, choosing parties which have "too few eyes and ears" for minorities.

The DENK party has remained controversial. The party leaders are claimed to be closely linked to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). They do not criticize Erdoğan and Turkish government policies. When a Turkish-Dutch blogger was arrested in Turkey because of a tweet that criticized the Turkish president, all Dutch parties endorsed a resolution calling for her immediate release except the DENK.

Many Turks hold dual Dutch and Turkish nationality, and 115,000 Turks in the Netherlands voted in the 2017 Turkish constitutional referendum. Of these, 71% backed Erdoğan’s proposal. About the same number of voters participated in the 2018 Turkish parliamentary elections. Of these, 62% voted for Erdoğan’s AKP. In Turkey, that party received 53% of the vote.

The conservative People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy, or VVD, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, claimed the fourth term election victory, winning 35 seats in the parliament according to exit polls on Thursday, Anadolu Agency said.

Anti-Islam and far-right Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders came third party in the elections, Anadolu Agency said.

The NIDA Party, which brands itself as ‘the party inspired by Islam’, participated in the elections for the first time. The party could not win any seat in the parliament.