Turkish Football News

Mesut Ozil quits Germany due to racism

Mesut Ozil quits Germany due to racism

The Arsenal star has decided to retire from international football after months of racist attacks in his native Germany.

Mesut Ozil has announced his retirement from the German national team after receiving racial abuse due to his Turkish origin, which started following a controversial photo he posed for alongside Turkish president Recep Erdogan and was made a scapegoat for Germany’s failure in the 2018 World Cup.

Ozil, a German national of Turkish descent, said the racist attacks by the German Football Association (DFB) and others made him feel unwanted and he will no longer play for Germany “whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.”

In a three-part statement posted on the Arsenal midfielder’s social accounts, Ozil said in the eyes of DFB President Reinhard Grindel and his supporters, “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose. This is despite paying taxes in Germany, donating facilities to German schools and winning the World Cup with Germany in 2014, I am still not accepted into society.”

He pointed out while his teammates Roman Podolski and Miroslav Klose are never referred to as German-Polish, he was kept being called a German-Turkish.

“Is this because it is Turkey? Is it because I’m a Muslim? By being referred to as German-Turkish, it is already distinguishing people who have family from more than one country. I was born and educated in Germany, so why don’t people accept that I am German?” he said.

The player spoke about the racist treatment he has received ever since the photo made headlines, from Chief of German Theatre Werner Steer telling him to “piss off to Anatolia,” a Turkish region where many Turkish immigrants originated from, to a German football fan calling him a “Turkish pig.”

“These people have used my picture with President Erdogan as an opportunity to express their previously hidden racist tendencies.”

Ozil gives a signed jersey to Erdogan.

The controversial photo that started it all.

Germany has a 3 million-strong Turkish community, many of whom are second- and third-generation German-born citizens of Turkish descent whose grandparents moved to the country during the 1960s. Most of those people still preserve their Turkish identity and relations with their extended families in Turkey.

The player said in the first part of his lengthy statement that the meeting was not about politics or elections, but rather it was “about respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”

Mesut stressed that the meeting was not an endorsement of any policies, but the two only spoke about the topic they usually discuss: football.

“Although the German media have portrayed something different, the truth is that not meeting with the President would have been disrespecting the roots of my ancestors, who I know would be proud of where I am today,” the statement said.

The talented midfielder met with President Erdogan several times and even watched a match between Germany and Turkey in Berlin with then-Prime Minister Erdogan and Angela Merkel in 2010. However, since his recent meeting with Erdogan, along with Ilkay Gundogan — a teammate also of Turkish descent — in London during the president’s visit to the United Kingdom in May, the German international has been under fire from the German media and has been subjected to racist abuse and attacks.

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