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Monday 23 Jul 2018 11.14 AM

Ozil quits Germany squad in spat over Turkey president

Ozil, Germany, Turkey president

Mesut Ozil is quitting Germany's national team following criticism over his decision to pose for a picture with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a series of statements posted Sunday on Twitter, the Arsenal star announced his retirement from international football. He attacked the German football federation (DFB), its president, fans and the media, criticizing what he saw as racism and double standards in the treatment of people with Turkish roots. Citing anti-Turkish comments from far-right politicians and fans, Ozil said he would "no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect." He added: "Racism should never, ever be accepted."

The photo of Erdogan, Ozil and Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan meeting in London caused an uproar in Germany two months ago.
At the time, the head of Germany's soccer federation, Reinhard Grindel, publicly accused the players whose families came to Germany from Turkey of allowing themselves to be "exploited" by Erdogan for political purposes. Some German politicians questioned Ozil and Gundogan's loyalty to Germany and suggested they should be removed from the national squad ahead of the World Cup.

Gundogan distanced himself from the photo, but Ozil refused to comment publicly until Sunday when he published a three-part statement in English which defended his actions and attacked those who have criticized him."The picture we took had no political intentions," said Ozil, adding that it "was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country." PTI

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Monday 23 Jul 2018 11.14 AM
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