Shortly after Christmas, Florian von Brunn promised to clarify this strange case “neutrally and objectively,” as the state chairman of the Bavarian SPD put it. That raised expectations, because no one had really made sense of the allegations that were suddenly being made – against Arif Taşdelen, then SPD general secretary and who has since resigned, precisely because of this strange thing, these elusive allegations.
About a month later, the report of the internal control commission, which should clarify the facts and finally make the allegations tangible, is available. “The commission has worked through the process,” said the SPD board, both bureaucratically and with satisfaction. “The report is the end of the matter for me,” said Taşdelen when asked by the SZ. All good, seriously?
For the medium-heavy quake that drove through the Bavarian SPD, the corresponding report by the internal commission is quite narrow. Two pages, six sub-items. The introduction promises an “assessment of the material collected”, but the commission does not appear to have collected all that much material. There is still very vague talk of allegations that “partly were communicated anonymously, especially by the Jusos” – and that the educational work had to be “limited” to that.
After the end of its work, does the Commission not know any more than what was already known? That Taşdelen is said to have behaved “inappropriately” towards two young women. The Jusos, the newcomers to the SPD party, made this accusation against Taşdelen and therefore excluded the general from all their events by board resolution.
What did Taşdelen do exactly? There is nothing in the report about that. “Specific circumstances” could “not be explained in detail” due to a confidentiality obligation, says the report. So the Commission does know more, but isn’t saying so? It is known that Taşdelen asked for the private phone number of a state parliament candidate from the SPD, which the young woman apparently found intrusive. It was also known that Taşdelen’s contact via social media platforms was considered annoying by at least one woman. But not even that is in the commission report, beyond that the paper certainly does not provide any insights. It only says “that according to the statements of those affected, all incidents are not criminally relevant”. Which was also known.
“Points of contact for those affected within the party should be created”.
The conclusion of the commission: “For those affected, there was undoubtedly a situation that they subjectively perceived as a burden” – even if Taşdelen “according to his own statements had a different perception of his behavior in this regard”. After his resignation, further “measures” against Taşdelen are “not necessary”. In a single sentence, the commission report then addresses the question of how the party plans to deal with similar cases in the future: “Points of contact for those affected are to be created within the party”. More details will be agreed with the federal SPD, says state head Brunn, who apparently sees his promise of objective clarification fulfilled.
Kilian Maier also seems satisfied with the commission’s report: “For us it fits so far,” says the Bavarian Juso boss. Whether the report incriminates or exonerates Taşdelen, this assessment is difficult for him too – although his statements seem to tend towards incrimination. “The report examined the views of the women concerned and found them to be correct,” says Maier, adding that this is “the decisive factor.” Of course, that’s not entirely true, the report doesn’t condemn Taşdelen’s behavior – it just states that women subjectively perceived his behavior as inappropriate, unlike Taşdelen. A classic he-says-she-says. Maier doesn’t mind. Taşdelen took the consequences himself with his resignation, so there is no need for the Commission to interpret his behavior further. However, despite his resignation, Taşdelen has emphasized that he sees no wrongdoing on his part.
“It was right to put the protection of our members first”
Maier sees the greatest difficulty in dealing with the case in the media, because those affected have been burdened once again. But the Jusos are, to put it mildly, not insignificantly involved in this circumstance. The commission probably sees it that way when it writes that with the Juso decision not to invite Taşdelen anymore, it was actually clear that the case would end up in the press. Some see this as criticism of the Jusos. Just like the Commission’s statements that all sides must be heard before such a far-reaching decision is taken. The Jusos only informed Taşdelen after their decision. Just “a hint,” says Maier. It will be discussed internally whether they could adopt the proposed approach. But he defended the decision itself: “It was right to put the protection of our members first.”
The Middle Franconia SPD played the most delicate role in the past few weeks. Because while Taşdelen has given up one top position, he still has another. As a member of Nuremberg, he should lead the list of the Middle Franconia SPD in the state elections. With regard to this function, district chief Carsten Träger had announced that he would wait and see what the internal control committee would say. This is not made very clear in the report, but it is crucial for carriers that the Commission does not consider any further measures against Taşdelen necessary. He wants to propose to the district executive in the coming days that Taşdelen remain at the top of the list. His resignation as Secretary General? The “Commission has expressed that it could no longer investigate,” says Träger. Due to what was collected, he considered the resignation to be “too much of a good thing”.
How exactly the commission proceeded, which led to the assessment that no “further measures” against Taşdelen were “necessary”, should remain its secret. The head of the commission, Carmen König-Rothemund, explained when asked that no questions would be answered. The only thing she could add to the paper was that the Commission’s vote was “unanimous”.