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Erdoğan-affiliated party fails to win seat in European Parliament

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A newly established Turkish-Islamist political party in Germany accused of having links to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan failed to receive enough votes to win a seat in the European Parliament in the elections held in Germany on Sunday.

The Demokratische Allianz für Vielfalt und Aufbruch (Democratic Alliance for Diversity and Awakening, or DAVA) received 148,724 votes from among the 65 million eligible voters in Germany.

German voters elected 96 members of the 720-seat European Parliament. The number of MEPs elected from a political party is determined proportionally to the number of votes it receives.

DAVA took part in the European Parliament elections with 11 candidates, most of whom had Turkish roots.

President Erdoğan in early May received the Union of International Democrats (UID), formerly the Union of European Turkish Democrats, known as his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) lobbying organization in Europe.

Hundreds of delegates from 25 countries attended the four-day “UID Capacity Building and Training Workshop” at the presidential palace during which Erdoğan sought to mobilize Turks in Europe ahead of the June 6-9 European elections.

“I believe that the Turkish diaspora will be a strong and decisive actor in the coming years. That is why I call on you to maintain your unity, solidarity and brotherhood. You know that the European Parliament elections will soon take place. It is of the utmost importance that your voice is heard in these halls. Therefore, do not neglect to exercise your right to vote in the European elections,” Erdoğan told the UID delegates.

DAVA’s co-chairman and co-founder Fatih Zingal, who unsuccessfully ran in the European elections, had posted Erdoğan’s speech on social media and repeated Erdoğan’s call to European citizens of Turkish origin to take part in the European elections.

“I naturally join this call and say: Vote for DAVA,” Zingal wrote in a comment on the video. Zingal was previously press spokesman for the UID.

The party’s chairman, Teyfik Özcan, and Zingal have frequently denied having any links to Erdoğan and his AKP.

DAVA officials have also denied claims that the party is funded by the Turkish government. Zingal told BBC Turkish in January that their only source of revenue is membership fees and donations.

Following the establishment of DAVA earlier this year, some German politicians have expressed concerns that the new party will further stoke divisions in the country among various religious and ethnic groups and will be another radical party just like the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. They said the new party will also increase Erdoğan’s influence over the Turkish population there and promote his agenda.

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