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Turkish Mess! This Is Why Mesut Özil And Ilkay Gündogan Are In Hot Water With German FA

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It appears two premier league stars may have landed in trouble over an image. The German Football Federation (DFB) has criticised its internationals Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan for posing in photos with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.The two German-born players, both of Turkish origin, gave Mr Erdogan signed shirts at an event in London on Sunday. Gündogan wrote: “For my honoured President, with great respect.” Mr Erdogan is campaigning for re-election. Özil plays for Arsenal and Gündogan for Manchester City. Both players are preparing for next month’s Fifa World Cup in Russia, in which Germany is among the favourites. Turkey did not qualify.Many German politicians have also criticised the footballers, questioning their loyalty to German democratic values. DFB president Reinhard Grindel said: “Football and the DFB defend values which are not sufficiently respected by Mr Erdogan. “That’s why it’s not good that our international players let themselves be manipulated for his electoral campaign. In doing that, our players have certainly not helped the DFB’s work on integration.”DFB director Oliver Bierhoff said: “Neither one of them was aware of the symbolic value of this photo, but it’s clearly not right and we’ll be talking to them about it”. In his youth, before entering politics in the 1990s, Mr Erdogan played football semi-professionally for an Istanbul team, Kasimpasa. After the criticism erupted, Gündogan issued a statement defending himself, Özil and Cenk Tosun over their meeting with Mr Erdogan.They met on the sidelines of an event at a Turkish foundation that helps Turkish students, he explained. “Are we supposed to be impolite to the president of our families’ homeland?” he asked. “Whatever justified criticism there might be, we decided on a gesture of politeness, out of respect for the office of president and for our Turkish roots.” He said “it was not our intention to make a political statement with this picture”. Turkish-origin Cem Özdemir, a prominent German Green MP and sharp critic of Mr Erdogan, attacked Gündogan’s “my President” message. “The federal president of a German international footballer is called Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the chancellor is Angela Merkel and the parliament is called the German Bundestag,” he said.Photo Credit: Getty

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