"Hopefully". Image posted on Flickr by Cenk Özbakir.
When an ethnic Turk was elected leader of the Green Party in Germany on Saturday, the international press immediately christened him "The German Obama". But a German with Turkish parents tells us, "I hadn't even thought about comparing them".
After months of mounting media hype, Obama's election two weeks ago left the international press somewhat deflated. No wonder then, when Cem Özdemir, a German politician with Turkish parents, was voted joint-leader of the German Green Party, the papers immediately compared him with US President-elect Barack Obama. It was even rumoured that his campaign team had set up a Facebook group under the name "Yes We Cem".
With a population of almost three million, the Turkish community is the largest minority in Germany. Özdemir, who was born and brought up in the southwest of the country, is the first from any minority group to lead a political party - and one that is relatively successful: between 1998 and 2005 the Green Party formed a part of the coalition government. If it were to happen again, Özdemir would become an MP. However, despite "Cemamia", the 42-year-old is not impressed. In an interview with Germany's Bild am Sonntag, he dismissed comparisons with Obama as "inappropriate".
"He's more German than Turkish"
Döndü Yilmaz is a doctor from Dusseldorf. Her parents emigrated from Ankara 30 years ago. She prefers to remain anonymous.This is no big surprise. For young, educated people like me, we study here, we work here - it's like everyone is equal. It's a natural consequence of the past 50 years. Turkish people originally came just to do cheap labour, and now the children of those people have the chance to make something. It's really quite normal.
I hadn't even thought about comparing him with Barack Obama. You can see as soon as you look at him that he's Turkish but it's not like being black in America. The history there is much more difficult. It seems there are still daily problems and prejudices. They seem to think calling the White House the Black House is funny - we would never say something like that! In Germany we were really really sorry for what happened in the World Wars - people still feel ashamed, so I guess we try to compensate for that.
I think the less-educated Turkish people here will vote for Cem because he brings them hope that he'll do something for them. They believe him more than they trust German people. But I don't think he'd get enough support to overrule the other major parties. I wouldn't vote for him because I'm not a Green Party supporter. I wouldn't vote for him just because he's Turkish. He's more German than Turkish anyway."