Mesut Ozil has defended his controversial photo with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying it wasn’t about politics but about respecting the office of the presidency.
Ozil has been heavily criticised in Germany for his meeting with Erdogan in May, when he and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan posed for a photo with the Turkish president during his visit to London.
Both Ozil and Gundogan have Turkish roots, but the German football federation has said the meeting was ill-advised. Ozil’s performances at the World Cup were also heavily scrutinised in wake of the controversy, with Germany going out in the group stage.
The Arsenal midfielder finally broke his silence on the issue yesterday by posting a statement on social media insisting that he had done nothing wrong.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intensions,” Ozil wrote.
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