Why do Turkish football players support Erdogan

Turkish President : Emre Can apparently turned down Erdogan's invitation

The German-Turkish soccer player Emre Can also received an invitation from Recep Tayyip Erdogan according to a report in "Welt" - but he stayed away from the meeting. The two German-Turkish national team players Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan, on the other hand, presented the Turkish President with autographed jerseys at a photo opportunity in a London hotel on Sunday. As the Sport-Informationsdienst (SID) reported, Gündogan's jersey was signed by the player with the words: "With great respect for my president."

The visit caused severe criticism in Germany. In Turkey, elections will be held on June 24th. The photo session with Head of State Erdogan appears to be an election campaign.

Criticism of Özil and Gündogan

On Monday, the President of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel, said on Twitter: "Football and the DFB stand for values ​​that Mr. Erdogan does not pay enough attention to. Therefore it is not good that our national players support his Abuse election campaign maneuvers. " On Tuesday, the day of the preliminary nomination of the World Cup squad, national coach Joachim Löw also criticized. Özil and Gündogan are still nominated.

Not all fans agree with that. On Tuesday afternoon, around 30,000 signatories on the online petition platform Change.org demanded that the DFB should not take Özil and Gündogan with them to the World Cup in Russia. It could not be that the footballers were photographed next to a political force that is currently massively violating international law, supporting terrorists and is in the process of forming an injustice state. "Anyone who also supports this man in public is welcome to do so, but he cannot and MUST not wear the jersey of the German national team," write the petitioners.

There was also criticism for the two footballers from Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). Via her spokesman, she commented on the meeting with Erdogan on Tuesday. It was a situation "that raised questions and invited misunderstandings," said government spokesman Steffen Seibert. As national players, the two would serve as role models.

From the community

The mosque should be left in the village. [...] The DFB has no problem supporting authoritarian regimes with its tournament participation. Whoever shakes hands with Putin and the Emir of Qatar can also shake hands with Erdogan.

... writes user lionfood

Former Green Party leader Cem Özdemir said the Federal President of a German national soccer player was Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Angela Merkel and parliament was called the German Bundestag. Instead of "this tasteless campaign aid" for Erdogan, he would like the players "to concentrate on playing football and look up the terms rule of law and democracy again," added Özdemir.

"Crooked bow to Mr. Erdogan"

The integration commissioner of the federal government, Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU), accused the two footballers of "bowing crookedly to Mr. Erdogan" in the "Passauer Neue Presse" on Tuesday. This is "the opposite" of the DFB campaign "We are diversity", which promotes more tolerance and respect. And the domestic political expert of her party, Wolfgang Bosbach, told the "Heilbronner Voice" that it was more than strange that both of them paid homage to an "anti-democratic, authoritarian ruler" in this way.

The chairwoman of the Bundestag sports committee, Dagmar Freitag (SPD), joined the criticism. "These photos allow for many interpretations, including those that Özil and Gündogan may not have intended," she told the Berliner Zeitung on Tuesday. "However, members of our national teams must be clear about their role model function at all times." Such actions "fit neither with our value system nor with the basic values ​​of sport in our country".

And even the Turkish community in Germany was critical. "Football players should stay out of politics - especially if they are national players," said chairman Gökay Sofuoglu of the "Mitteldeutsche Zeitung" (online edition) published in Halle. At the same time he declared that the two athletes were responsible citizens and could meet "with whom they want".

Gündogan and Özil explain themselves

Ilkay Gündogan responded to the sharp criticism from all sides with a statement on Monday. Respect for his parents' homeland requires him to publicly shake hands with the Turkish president, he wrote: "Despite all the justified criticism, out of respect for the office of the president and our Turkish roots - also as German citizens - we support them Gesture of courtesy decided. " (with agencies)

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