Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has defended himself against criticisms stemming from his pre-World Cup meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ozil and Germany teammate Ilkay Gundogan, who are of Turkish descent, have been heavily criticised by the country’s Football Association, DFB, following the shock elimination in the group stage of the just concluded FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia.
Germany finished bottom of Group F after winning just one of their three games.
Reacting to the hullabaloo from their meeting with the Turkish President in May, Ozil stated that it “was not about politics or elections”.
He said: “I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
“It was about me representing the highest office of my family’s country.
“During my childhood, my mother taught me to always be respectful and to never forget where I came from, and these are still values I think about to this day.” The former Real Madrid and Werder Bremen playmaker added.
Speaking further, the 29-year-old said: “For me, it didn’t matter who was president, it mattered that it was the president.”
“Whether it had been the Turkish or German president, my actions would have been no different.” He concluded.