Erdogan calls Ozil, praises exit from German team

25 July, 2018, 03:33 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Mesut Ozil

He said he spoke to Ozil on Monday night and described his approach as "beyond any form of admiration", adding that Ozil's critics "could not stomach" the photograph of the football star and Erdogan that prompted criticism ahead of the World Cup.

The 29-year-old announced his retirement from global football earlier this week in a statement which listed racism and disrespect as reasons for his decision. Germany is home to some 3 million people with Turkish roots. The SABC's Ira Spitzer reports from Berlin. "Because more is at stake than just the future of the German national football team".

The 29-year-old was criticised after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event in May. Underlining that sports brings a lot to integration in a country, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she respects Ozil's decision. At the same time, Ozdemir, who himself has Turkish roots, said Ozil "did not live up to his function of setting examples" by failing to distance himself from the hardline Turkish leader.

After 23 goals and 40 assists in 92 appearances for Germany, the loss of Ozil is a blow to Loew, who deployed the Arsenal midfielder as his main playmaker.

Ozil released a three-part statement on Sunday, hitting out at the German Football Association (DFB), its chief Reinhard Grindel, the media and some fans after being widely condemned for meeting with Erdogan prior to the tournament in Russian Federation.

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Although Jerome Boateng, a player mentioned in the German football association's (DFB) statement that admitted the organization had not done enough to protect Ozil but rebuked accusations of racism, posted a snap with the pair with the caption "It was a pleasure Abi", there was no condemnation or commendation of either party in the affair. Ozil has since said that he agreed to meet Erdogan out of respect for the highest office of his parents' country, saying that "it didn't matter who was President, it mattered that it was the President". "Not only is he a disgrace to yourself, but also and more importantly a shame to German football and the people of Germany".

■ The photos were released on social media by Erdogan's election campaign team on May 14, the day before the Germany squad for the WC was announced.

The TFF said in a statement: "We condemn the treatment, threats and derogatory messages that Ozil has received because of his heritage and background. I think here lays an important issue" he said.

Members of Erdogan's government in Turkey, meanwhile, have shown support. "I congratulate Mesut Ozil who by leaving the national team has scored the most handsome goal against the virus of fascism", Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul wrote on Twitter.

"If Mesut is such a bad player, what does this say about his opinion on Joachim Low, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho?"


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