German central banker sanctioned for 'racist' comments
Thilo Sarrazin, a member of the six-man board at the powerful Bundesbank, was relieved of his duties for cash circulation, leaving him only information technology and risk management.Berlin -- A top official at Germany's central bank who prompted a furious row with comments widely seen as racist about Arabs and Turks was stripped on Tuesday of some key responsibilities, the bank said.
Thilo Sarrazin, a member of the six-man board at the powerful Bundesbank, was relieved of his duties for cash circulation, leaving him only information technology and risk management.
Sarrazin, 64, is a political appointment and, as such, cannot be fired by Bundesbank president Axel Weber. Although Sarrazin has apologised for his comments, he has steadfastedly refused to stand down.
In an interview with cultural magazine, Lettre International, Sarrazin said: "The Turks are conquering Germany in exactly the same way the Kosovars conquered Kosovo: with a higher birth rate."
"A large number of Arabs and Turks in this city (Berlin) ... have no productive function other than selling fruit and vegetables," he added.
"I don't respect anyone who lives off the state, rejects that state, fails to do enough for the education of his children and continually produces little veiled girls," he said.
"That is the case for 70 percent of the Turkish population in Berlin and 90 percent of the Arabs."
The comments sparked outrage across Germany, particularly among the country's large Turkish community.
Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: "I have the impression that with his ideas, Sarrazin is paying his respects to Goering, Goebbels, and Hitler."
Kramer later toned down his comments.
Sarrazin is also under investigation for inciting racial hatred and risks expulsion from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which appointed him.
The chairman of the Turkish community in Germany also lashed out at Sarrazin's comments.
"Sarrazin's remarks promote segregation, discrimination and stigmatisation and are damaging the whole relationship between immigrants and Germans in our country," Kenan Kolat told the Berliner Zeitung on Tuesday.
Kolat called for Sarrazin to step down from his post.
Weber, who reportedly tried to stop the publication of the interview, has said the row has damaged the bank's reputation.