The Arsenal midfielder’s wedding invitation to Turkey’s president has made headlines.
Former Germany international Mesut Ozil met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul on Friday March 15 during which personally handed an invitation to the Turkish political leader.
The Arsenal maestro was accompanied by his fiancee Amine Gulse to whom he got engaged in January.
Mesut’s last meeting with Erdogan raised eyebrows in his homeland and was criticized by the German press for doing so. After enduring waves of xenophobic and racist abuse, the talented midfielder announced his decision last year to retire from the German national team citing the abuse as the reason for his withdrawal.
The latest meeting with and wedding invitation to Erdogan has, once again, been the focal point of criticism aimed at Ozil in Germany.
Helga Braun, a German politician from the Christian Democratic Party of Germany, publicly said she was “saddened” by Ozil’s decision, claiming “it makes one sad” to see that the German midfielder would give a wedding invitation to Turkish president Erdogan.
“The fact that this has continued will have disappointed a lot of football fans, and me too,” she said referring to Ozil’s meeting with president Erdogan in London last year.
While acknowledging that it was Ozil’s personal decision, she appealed to the midfielder “as a role model, especially for young Turks in Germany.”
“Football players are symbolic figures in our society with whom people identify with much more than ministers so the question is raised; how much does someone wearing the German national team jersey stand for Germany?” she said.