Denk (political party)

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LeaderTunahan Kuzu
ChairmanSelçuk Öztürk
TreasurerTunahan Kuzu
Leader in the House of RepresentativesTunahan Kuzu
Founded9 February 2015
Split fromLabour Party
HeadquartersSchiekade 10
Membership (2019)Increase 3,678[1]
IdeologyMinority rights[2][3][4]
Identity politics[5][6][7]
Social democracy[10][11]
Political positionLeft-wing[12]
Colours     Turquoise
0 / 75
House of Representatives
3 / 150
4 / 570
European Parliament
0 / 26

Denk (Dutch pronunciation: [dɛŋk]; Dutch for "think", self-styled as DENK) is a political party in the Netherlands that calls itself a "movement".[13]

It was founded by Tunahan Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk, two Turkish-Dutch members of the House of Representatives, after leaving the Labour Party on 13 November 2014. On 9 February 2015, they gave their parliamentary group the name Denk and published a political manifesto for the establishment of a movement for migrants and a "tolerant and solidary society" which, among other things, calls for a "racism registry".

In the 2017 parliamentary election, Denk secured three seats, ensuring that Kuzu, and Öztürk would remain in parliament. The third seat is occupied by Farid Azarkan.


The movement drew up a political manifesto in February 2015, from which the political party Thinking Netherlands (Denk) emerged in November 2016.[14][15][non-primary source needed]

The Denk programme argues for the following five points:

  • a tolerant society in which we accept each other.
  • a caring society in which we look out for each other.
  • a learning society in which we utilize everyone's talents.
  • a sustainable society where we have to think about our environment.
  • a just society, promoting international justice.

The movement wants to establish a monument in memory of labour, and they want knowledge of migration history as a key target in education. They propose that the term "integration" should be replaced by the word "acceptance". The movement would abolish the term "immigrant". It notes that people with a non-western background are less likely to find a job or internship and often have negative experiences with law enforcement. The manifesto states that racism in the Netherlands is structural and institutional in nature and therefore wants a so-called "racism registry" to be set up, in which manifestations of racism are registered.

The movement proposes that in education, diversity in the classroom is commensurate with the diversity of the class (including the teacher). The movement has a policy that in every school in the Netherlands, both in primary and secondary education, study of Chinese, Arabic, and Turkish must be introduced as optional subjects. According to the movement, education in these languages will be useful for the country's economy and international relations. According to the manifesto, imams should not only be appointed to mosques, but also in health care, prisons and the armed forces.

Denk's view is that the United Nations and its Security Council need fundamental reform and that the European Union should pursue an independent foreign policy. The movement wants to tackle Islamic extremism by tackling its root causes, which, according to the party, consist of hopelessness, social exclusion, and injustice. On the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the party advocates that Europe strengthen the international position of Palestine and that the Netherlands recognises the State of Palestine.


The party's program for the 2017 Dutch parliamentary elections, in the context of the Armenian genocide, mourns both the Turkish and the Armenian sides, while calling for an "independent international investigation". Denk claims that there is no consensus regarding the scale and cause of the tragedy, and calls for "reason and unification". Within that framework, the party does not use the term genocide.[15][non-primary source needed]

The two leaders and founders of the party have been criticised for being "closely linked to the AKP" of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and "do not criticize Erdogan and Turkish government policies." The party was the sole party in the Netherlands that did not call for the release of a Turkish-Dutch blogger who was arrested for a tweet about Erdoğan.[16] The party has also been heavily criticised for refusing to distance itself from the purges in Turkey since 2016.[3]

NRC Handelsblad reported in February 2017 that Denk was using fake social media profiles in order to influence public opinion.[17] In response, Denk released a video on their Facebook page in which Kuzu and Azarkan downplayed the allegations, questioned the motives of NRC Handelsblad, and suggested that other parties make greater use of fake social media accounts.[18] A few days later, authorised party leader Kuzu acknowledged that there had been some internet trolls from the youth department of DENK who would be called to account for their behaviour.[19][20] Some days after, Kuzu also called Azarkan to account for his role in the use of fake social media accounts.[21][22]

The Diyanet, a Turkish governmental unit, has allowed Denk to promote itself in Diyanet-controlled Dutch mosques. There are 146 such mosques as of 2018.[23]

Election results[edit]

Dutch general election[edit]

House of Representatives
Election Votes Seats Government
Number % Number +/–
2017 216,147 2.1 (#12)
3 / 150
Increase 3 in opposition

Provincial election 2019[edit]

Provincial Seats
North Holland 1 of 55
South Holland 1 of 55
Utrecht 1 of 49
Flevoland 1 of 41
Total 4 seats

Municipal election 2018[edit]

Municipality Votes % Seats
Amsterdam 23,138 6,7% 3 of 45
Arnhem 3,147 5,2% 2 of 39
Amersfoort 2,390 3,4% 1 of 39
Alkmaar 647 1,4% 0 of 39
Deventer 2,026 4,6% 1 of 37
Eindhoven 2,864 3,5% 1 of 45
Enschede 2,306 3,7% 1 of 39
Lelystad 958 3,7% 1 of 35
Rotterdam 16,955 7,4% 4 of 45
Roermond 835 3,3% 1 of 31
Schiedam 3,260 11,7% 4 of 35
Utrecht 7,662 4,9% 2 of 45
Veenendaal 1,243 4,0% 1 of 33
Zaanstad 3,401 5,5% 2 of 39
Total 70,832 1,0% 24 seats


  1. ^ "Forum voor Democratie vierde ledenpartij, middenpartijen verliezen juist veel leden". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  2. ^ "A Pro-Immigrant Party Rises in the Netherlands". The New York Times. 29 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b "6 most eyecatching fringe parties in the Dutch election". Politico. 3 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Ethnic minorities desert Labour, turn to Denk ahead of March vote". Dutch News. 6 February 2017.
  5. ^ "The Dutch election suggests a new kind of identity politics". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  6. ^ Foster, Kimberly (5 May 2018). "Identity politics has veered away from its roots. It's time to bring it back - Kimberly Foster". the Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Who's afraid of Denk?". 25 March 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  8. ^ "A Pro-Immigrant Party Rises in the Netherlands". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  9. ^ "DENK: The Long Needed Multicultural Party?". 25 July 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. ^ "The Dutch Demise of Social Democracy: A Green Opportunity?". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  11. ^ "DENK wil burger heropvoeden. Waar zagen we dat eerder? -". 16 November 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Links en Rechts".
  13. ^ Siegal, Nina (29 July 2016). "A Pro-Immigrant Party Rises in the Netherlands". Retrieved 2 September 2017 – via
  14. ^ "Een Nieuke Politieke Beweging" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  15. ^ a b "Denkend Aan Nederland" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  16. ^ "How will Turkish Germans vote in the country's upcoming election?". Deutsche Welle. 24 August 2017.
  17. ^ Andreas KouwenhovenHugo Logtenberg 10 februari 2017. "Nep-aanhang is online actief voor politieke partij Denk - NRC". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  18. ^ "Dit is hoe de media (NRC) werken". Facebook. 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  19. ^ "Jongeren van partij Denk aangesproken op nepprofielen". Trouw. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  20. ^ "Kuzu: trollen verleden tijd bij Denk | NOS". 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  21. ^ Door: ANP (2017-02-16). "Kuzu spreekt tweede man Denk aan op inzet 'trollen' | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  22. ^ "Kuzu tegen tweede man Denk: zo gaan wij niet te werk". 2017-02-17. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  23. ^ Öztürk, Ahmet Erdi; Sözeri, Semiha. "Diyanet as a Turkish Foreign Policy Tool: Evidence from the Netherlands and Bulgaria". Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association: 3, 12–13, 15. doi:10.1017/S175504831700075X. Archived from the original on 17 April 2019.

External links[edit]