World Bulletin / News Desk
Controversial remarks insulting Muslims in Germany made by German Central Bank (Bundesbank) board member and German Social Democratic Party (SPD) member Thilo Sarrazin are continuing to spark reaction.
While some Turkish associations in Germany released mild press statements concerning Sarrazin's comments on Muslims, some of them made harsh statements calling for the dismissal of Sarrazin from the SPD and also from the Bundesbank. Several associations, however, still have not expressed an opinion on the issue and have remained silent.
The Turkish Association in Berlin (TGB) made a statement on its website on Aug. 27, announcing that that they do not approve of the defamatory remarks made by Sarrazin and asking the SPD to adopt a clear position on this issue. They also reminded the SPD that the majority of ethnic Turks in Germany had voted for the SPD and that they have the right to know what position the party holds. As long as the SPD remains undecided it will have to bear the consequences in elections to be held in 2011, the TGB board of directors said.
In a new book titled “Germany Abolishes Itself,” Sarrazin writes that Germany is becoming “more stupid” since the birth rate of Muslims, who have lower incomes, is constantly increasing.
“Muslim immigrants don't integrate as well as other immigrant groups across Europe. The reasons for this are apparently not based on their ethnicity but are rooted in their Islamic culture,” he told Welt daily on Sunday.
Intercultural Dialogue Platform (FID) Chairman Ercan Karakoyun told Cihan News Agency that there is nothing they want to add to the discussion about Sarrazin. He noted that the comments being made on the issue serve to benefit Sarrazin. “Those discussions helped Sarrazin break a sales record for his book. To show the world that what Sarrazin said is not true, we have adopted a different strategy,” said Karakoyun.
Referring to a conference titled “The New Turkey -- Domestic and Foreign Policies” they held on Aug. 31, Karakoyun said it was one of the important steps they have taken regarding similar racist remarks, publications and incidents.
Instead of immediate strong reactions, the association prefers to work on long-term solutions by showing what dynamic, intellectual, diligent and successful young people they have in their community. “Everyone who participated in our meeting saw that we don't care about Sarrazin's comments,” he noted.
The Federation of Turkish Parents' Associations in Germany also rejected the comments made by Sarrazin. The association's manager, Tulay Usta, recalled that Sarrazin insists people read his book before commenting. But according to Usta, statistics provided by Sarrazin, which argue that Muslims are more likely to be involved in criminal acts, should not be used since they are not based on fact. Usta thinks there are indeed problems with integration; however, she said the state should contribute to the integration process by allocating more money since integration is not a one-sided issue.
Eyes on President Wulff over Sarrazin's expulsion from Bundesbank
After the Bundesbank was pressured to dismiss Sarrazin, it unanimously decided to expel member of the board Sarrazin on Sept. 2. But this decision is not binding, since only President Christian Wulff can decide on such an expulsion. According to German law, only the president can elect or dismiss Bundesbank board members. Wulff earlier said he wanted to learn the stance of the government on dismissing Sarrazin. The Finance Ministry is now trying to determine whether there is any judicial obstacle barring the way to Sarrazin's dismissal.
In an interview with Germany's Focus weekly magazine on Sunday, Sarrazin said he believes the president won't decide on this issue without hearing him out. He also warned Wulff not to do anything that contravenes the Constitution.
When asked whether he is considering establishing a new party if he is expelled from the SPD, Sarrazin said during the interview that he is not willing to set up a party. “I am in a position where I can express my opinions while being just a member of a party,” Sarrazin added.