Turkey Erects Signpost Of President And Ex-German Footballer Mesut Özil


Authorities in the ancestral Turkish town of football star Mesut Özil have erected a new street sign showing him posing with President Tayyip Erdogan.

This was after the player quit the German team, saying he faced “racism and disrespect” for his Turkish roots.The sign marking “Mesut Özil Avenue”, named in honour of the midfielder, replaces one picturing him wearing the international strip of Germany, the country of his birth.

The picture of a smiling Özil and Erdogan side by side, holding up the team shirt of his English club Arsenal, set off a row in Germany when the photo was snapped in May.Erdogan, who was campaigning for re-election when the photo was taken, has drawn criticism in Germany for a crackdown following a coup attempt in 2016.

He has since responded in kind.Mustafa Semerci, the mayor of the Black Sea town of Devrek — the original home of Özil’s family — has however explained why he changed the sign.

“This was after we watched with sadness what was done to Ozil,’’ the Turkish news agency DHA quoted Semerci as saying.The 29-year-old Özil, who was a key member of Germany’s World Cup-winning team in 2014, was also photographed with Erdogan along with Ilkay Gundogan, a teammate also of Turkish descent.

Özil’s announcement that he would no longer play for Germany came amid a political debate about an influx of 1.6 million migrants in the past four years.This has fuelled a far-right resurgence and weakened support for traditional parties.



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