By Eren Sarigul
BERLIN (ESPN) — Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the “unacceptable” treatment of Mesut Ozil by the Germany football federation on Tuesday.
Ozil, 29, withdrew from international football on Sunday, saying that “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish heritage directed towards himself and his family were major factors behind his decision.
The Arsenal playmaker felt he was made a scapegoat for Germany’s poor showing at the World Cup in Russia after a meeting with Erdogan in London.
“Such racist treatment towards a young man who has given his all to the German national team for his religious beliefs is unacceptable,” Erdogan told reporters in parliament.
“Furthermore, how do you explain being unable to tolerate Mesut, Ilkay [Gundogan] and Cenk Tosun taking a photograph in London out of respect of their Turkish roots?