Germany players Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan have been criticized for meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both are of Turkish heritage, but chose to represent Germany in international football.
Deutsche Welle reports that the Premier League stars, who were joined by a third player, Everton striker Cenk Tosun, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at London’s Four Seasons hotel on Sunday. President Erdogan, who is up for re-election on June 24, is in the British capital for a three-day state visit, where he is to be received by Queen Elizabeth II and meet with Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday,
Each player presented Erdogan with a football jersey from his respective club, before posing for a picture with the president. Gündogan’s Manchester City shirt was also inscribed with the personal message: “With great respect for my president.”
The DFB have issued a statement regarding Germany internationals Ilkay Gündogan and Mesut Özil’s meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London.
DFB president Reinhard Grindel: “The DFB of course respects the special situation for our players with migrant backgrounds, but football and the DFB stands for values that Mr. Erdogan does not sufficiently respect. Therefore, it is not a good thing that our internationals have let themselves be exploited for his election campaign stunt. It certainly hasn’t helped the DFB’s integration efforts.”
DFB team coordinator Oliver Bierhoff: “I still have absolutely no doubts about Mesut and Ilkay’s commitment to playing for the Germany national team and how much they identify with our values. They were unaware of the symbolism of these pictures, but we cannot endorse it, and we will discuss the matter with the players.”
Source: Deutsche Welle, DFB