Karabulut’s rapid rise in politics
6 September 2006 – Sadet Karabulut,
representative of the Socialist Party (SP), may become an MP at
the end of this year. As a new council member, she criticised the
way in which inspections are carried out in the homes of social
assistance recipients. “At the national level, I can do much
more for the Amsterdammers”.
was elected council member in March. Before that, she was a board
member of the Turkish workers’ federation DIDF, an organisation
that has a visible presence at many demonstrations, and she was
coordinator of drugs policies at the Zuidoost district. With a fifteenth
position on the list, she stands a realistic chance of being elected.
The swift move to The Hague was not really foreseen, Karabulut
says. “I find it difficult to leave Amsterdam. It is a terrific
city. But the party asked me to stand as a candidate for Parliament.
And at the national level, I can do much more for the Amsterdammers”.
One of the terrains where she feels limited in what she can do
as a council member is anti-poverty policies. “You are stuck
with national rules and budgets. When you want to do something more
for people with low incomes, people will say that the municipality
must abstain from income policies”.
At the national level, more can be done: “Our programme says
that the social minimum must be raised by ten percent. People with
low incomes have a hard time as a consequence of the policies of
the current government”.
On other terrains as well, this government’s policies are
destructive, finds Karabulut. For example, the ‘Muslim bashing’
should stop. Further, youth policies should offer young people perspective
rather than put young people who have done nothing wrong in boot
camps, as the current government wants to do with young unemployed
people who are not in school.
During the past months, Karabulut has sharply criticised the inspections
of social assistance recipients’ homes. Many people feel that
these inspections are humiliating and intimidating. The ombudsman
called them ‘inappropriate’.
Karabulut put her teeth into the issue. “I thought, you cannot
be serious. It was all presented as one big experiment, it was very
untransparent. Meanwhile, complaints were coming in. Of course you
must get the people who commit fraud, but innocent people should
not suffer as a result”.
In response to the criticism, Alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb promised
to improve various aspects of the information provided and the procedures.
“That is good; it was much needed as well. I would have liked
to discuss the principles behind it as well, but they evaded that
discussion by saying that the inspections are within the law. Fortunately,
that issue will be taken to court soon”.
According to the most recent polls, the SP will get 14 or 16 seats
in Parliament. Karabulut: “I am confident that I am standing
for a safe seat, I am counting on seventeen seats for the SP. Of
course we have to wait and see; the voters make the final decision.
But I am very optimistic”.
“It is quite exciting, until recently I had no idea that
I would stand as a candidate for Parliament”, says Karabulut.
“But then, a year and a half ago I really did not foresee
that I would become a council member”.
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