German central bank under fire for director's remarks on Turks
Last week, Thilo Sarrazin, recently appointed to the central bank's board, told a magazine that Turks contributed little to the German economy and were a threat owing to a high birth rate.Frankfurt -- German central bank governor Axel Weber moved on Monday to counter remarks by a bank director about Germany's large Turkish minority which had prompted a storm of protest.
"We have seen our reputation damaged unfortunately, and will have to correct that," Weber acknowledged in comments made to the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).
Last week, Thilo Sarrazin, recently appointed to the central bank's board, told cultural magazine Lettre International that Turks contributed little to the German economy and were a threat owing to a high birth rate.
"Turks are conquering Germany ... with a strong birth rate," Sarrazin was quoted as saying.
Overall, Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe.
"I would be happy if it were a question of eastern European Jews whose intelligence is 15 percent greater than the German population," Sarrazin added.
"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 of money," he said.
Speaking of the German capital Berlin, Sarrazin added: "A large number of Arabs and Turks in this city, the number of which 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.
Weber told the FAZ that Sarrazin had already apologised for his comments.
Other German press reports said that Weber had tried unsuccessfully to get Sarrazin to correct his remarks before they were published.
The German political class is now wondering how much longer Sarrazin will remain at the central bank and whether he might also be excluded from the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).