Despite having a well-documented history of openly using racial epithets to refer to ethnic Germans, Ferda Ataman, a left-wing activist, who herself is a second-generation Turkish immigrant, was recently chosen by Germany’s left-liberal coalition government to head the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency.
Ataman, after being nominated for the position in June, was elected as the country’s Federal Commissioner for Anti-Discrimination early this month after 376 of the 736 members of the Bundestag, a slight majority, voted in favor of her appointment, the German news outlet Tagesschau reports.
Due to her divisive style, aggressive left-wing activism, as well as her public use of anti-German racial epithets, including a time when she—in an opinion column written for the newspaper Der Spiegel—wrote that Germans “sometimes mutate into thin-skinned emo-Germans” if they’re called “potatoes,” Ataman’s appointment has been sharply criticized not only by the centrist and rightist opposition but also by top members of the liberal, pro-business Frei Demokratische Party (FDP), which is one of the three governing coalition partners.
In her Der Spiegel column, which was published in January of 2020, Ataman wrote: “A surprising number of people see this as insulting discrimination. Why?” Then, going on to answer her question, she says: “So, the outrage about ‘potato Germans’ is about something else. It’s about the inner resistance to deal with yourself and your own privileges.”
She didn’t leave it at that, however. She went on to refer to Germans as “almans,” which is a Turkish derogatory slang term used to describe a person who exhibits “stereotypical” German characteristics. Additionally, Ataman urged those living within Germany’s borders to take part in what she referred to as “name guerilla” action, where ethnic German parents give their children names like “Osman, Aliyeh, Khuyen” and migrant parents name their second-generation migrant children traditional German names.
Furthermore, in addition to being accused of ignoring issues like Turkish ultranationalism, forced marriages, clan crime, genital mutilation, Islamism, and issues related to mass migration, Ataman has been slammed by Die Welt columnist Henryk M. Broder for having “deleted 10,000 of her tweets” before the beginning of her campaign for anti-discrimination commissioner. Before its scrubbing, Ataman’s Twitter feed is said to have been replete with posts about ‘White privilege,’ migration, and discrimination.
Stephan Bradner, the deputy federal spokesman for Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), said Ataman’s appointment “can only be perceived as a provocation: after all, she has hit the headlines as an agitator who, not without reason, had to delete thousands of statements in social media in advance of her election. She is a left-wing activist who does not stand for the balancing of cultures but will drive a divisive fungus into society.”
Bradner’s comments come after deputy chairman of the AfD parliamentary group, Leif-Erik Holm, warned against Ataman’s appointment, referring to her as “the high priestess of German discrimination,” while warning that anyone who votes in favor of her appointment must accept the accusation of “consciously pushing the division of society further.’
Also speaking on Ataman’s appointment and why he refused to vote for her, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member of the Bundestag, Christoph de Vries, slammed her social media scrubbing, writing on his Twitter: “Anyone who has to clean up their past by deleting thousands of tweets to hide their position should not bear any future responsibility in the federal government as an anti-discrimination officer.”
Linda Teuteberg, a federal board member of the governing Frei Demokratische Party (FDP), in an interview with Neue Zürcher Zeitung, said Ataman stands “in a special way for divisive identity politics, defamation of those who think differently and a lack of willingness to differentiate.”
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.