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Germany

Schaeuble: German-Turkish Chancellor "Only a Matter of Time"

In a wide-ranging interview with a German magazine, Germany's conservative Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that it was only "a question of time" before a citizen of Turkish origin became German chancellor.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble sees a lot of potential in third-generation Turks

Schaeuble's comments come less than a week after Germany's Green Party elected Cem Oezdemir, the son of Turkish immigrants, as one of its co-leaders.

In an interview with Germany's Stern magazine, Schaeuble would not be drawn as to why he thought so, only answering that "young, third-generation Turks in Germany had a lot of potential" and that it was only reasonable to think this was possible.

Oezdemir is the son of Turkish immigrants and was raised in southern Germany. He becomes the first ethnic Turk to lead one of Germany's major political parties.

His election is seen by some as a major turning point for the country. Although Turks represent a strong minority in Germany, large portions of their populations are marginalized from mainstream German society.

Many second-generation Turks complain about the difficulty of obtaining German citizenship, even though they have spent their entire lives in Germany.

Schaeuble tackled a number of topics in the interview, including the current financial crisis and the election of Barack Obama to the White House.

Financial crisis expose unscrupulous banks, managers

On the financial crisis, the interior minister said that Germany had reacted to the global problems with a clear head but admitted that his country was not safe from the on-going crisis.

A passer-by looks at an electronic stock board in downtown Tokyo

Germany isn't safe from the financial chaos, admits Schaeuble

He did say that some good had come from the crisis, referring to the exposure of irresponsible banks to scrutiny and investigation, and the shaming and removal of managers who had awarded themselves millions in bonuses and raises.

Asked whether the financial crisis was more of a threat than terrorism, Schaeuble replied: "At present the concern surrounding the state of the world's banks makes more headlines."

Obama election praised; Russian reaction slammed

Speaking about the recent US presidential election, Schaeuble said the success of Barack Obama represented "a chance" and that his victory was in Germany's interest.

Obama, he said, had "enormous presence" and the "confidence to help the USA recover" from its recent trials, adding that Obama's speech on the race question during the campaign "really sealed" his victory.

The interior minister, however, was scathing in his criticism of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who attacked the United States in a speech directly after the presidential election.

"I found the reaction of Russia quite stupid," Schaeuble said. "Even the unspeakable Iranian president reacted somewhat more intelligently."

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