The new head of the federal anti-discrimination agency, Ferda Ataman, has rejected criticism of her person. “I put my finger in the wound, and of course not everyone thinks it’s great,” said Ataman of the weekly newspaper “Zeit” and the portal “Zeit Online” with a view to allegations by politicians from the CDU and FDP that their rhetoric split society.
“What I didn’t expect, however, are the many false claims that were accepted unchecked by some media, such as that I would deliberately discriminate against Germans or that I had not addressed problems within migrant communities,” Ataman continued. According to the daughter of Turkish immigrants, she is “not nearly as woke as many think.”
In the conversation, the 43-year-old political scientist also defended her column for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation from 2018, in which she compared the newly founded homeland department of the then Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) to the “blood and soil” ideology the Nazis had moved. “Yes, I still stand by the text,” she said. “At the time I wrote: Anyone who now uses the term Heimat politically must make it clear what it stands for and distance themselves from national symbolism.”
When asked why she deleted all tweets from her Twitter profile shortly before announcing her nomination, Ataman said: “I think a publicist’s private Twitter profile does not fit with a designated federal anti-discrimination officer, so I simply deleted all the tweets .”
In the interview, the 43-year-old repeatedly spoke positively about German society. “I’m very happy to live in Germany,” she said. The vast majority have arrived in the modern immigration society, she added. “Just think of the great moments of civil society when it came to taking in refugees from Syria or the Ukraine.”
Ataman had been nominated for the post by the federal government. But there were also reservations about them in the traffic light coalition, especially from the ranks of the FDP. Therefore, when she was elected in the Bundestag two weeks ago, she did not receive all the votes from the ranks of the coalition.