German banker sparks anger over ‘racist’ tirade aimed at Turks in Germany

From The Telegraph U.K.

German bank governor forced to deny colleague’s racist remarks

A tirade against Turks in Germany by a recently appointed central bank board member provoked widespread anger.

By Robin Prince
Published: 9:27AM BST 09 Oct 2009

A partial eclipse of the sun visible above the minaret of Dresden's Tabacco Mosque

A partial eclipse of the sun visible above the minaret of Dresden’s Tabacco Mosque Photo: AP

The governor of the German Central Bank, Axel Weber, has been attempting a damage limitation exercise after remarks by Thilo Sarrazin about the country’s 2.5 million-strong Turkish minority provoked popular anger.

Last week Mr Sarrazin, who was recently appointed to the central bank’s board, told cultural magazine Lettre International that Turks, who are three per cent of the country’s population, contributed little to the German economy and were a threat due to their high birth rate.

“Turks are conquering Germany…with a strong birth rate,” Sarrazin was quoted as saying. “I would be happy if it were a question of eastern European Jews whose intelligence is 15 per cent greater than the German population.

“I do not want groups within the population that do not accept the duty of integration, and on top of that it costs a lot more money.”

Speaking of the German capital, Berlin, Sarrazin added: “A large number of Arabs and Turks in this city, the number of whom has grown owing to poor policies, have no productive function aside from selling fruit and vegetables.

“That is also true for part of the German underclass,” the banker added.

Mr Weber, who had tried unsuccessfully to get Mr Sarrazin to correct his remarks before they were published, said that Mr Sarrazin had apologised.

Figures provided by the Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce indicated that the number of companies founded in Germany by Turkish citizens or Germans with a Turkish background has risen to 65,000, employing around 320,000, over the past two decades.

The chamber anticipates that this number will rise to 120,000 companies in the next ten years, employing 720,000 people.

“We have seen our reputation damaged [by Sarrazin’s remarks and] unfortunately, and will have to correct that,” Weber said.

Jutta Kramm, the associate editor of Berliner Zeitung, the centre-Left German daily paper, suggested that Mr Sarrazin’s outburst may have been the result of a change in his circumstances. “He was formerly a politician in Berlin and is a personality who has always set out to provoke. It is possble he was missing the media attention,” she said.

“In his previous role as a financial senator in Berlin he would say that people were lazy, that Turks in particular were lazy, and he was regarded as outspoken. But being a member of the German central bank is a completely different role with more responsibility and this time the Turkish community felt very insulted.

“The feeling is that he was simply delivering his prejudices and undermining integration in the process. Where does this kind of talking lead? All he is doing is pointing out problems that he sees and not suggesting any solutions.”

Turkish prospects of joining in the European Union are at an all time low after the victory of Angela Merkel’s Right-wing coalition in last week’s general election has made it likely that Germany will join France in outright opposition to the country’s membership.

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