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Erdogan says called Ozil, praises decision to quit German team

24 July 2018

Ozil, who is of Turkish descent, became the target of the boo-boys after he met and took a photo with the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in May. Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, capped 81 times by England, laconically tweeted his support for the Arsenal player, with the word "Respect" quoting a tweet of Ozil's statement. "Mesut made a good job for Germany in [previous] years but in the last one and a half year he didn't hit the same performance like four years ago when we won the World Cup in 2014 in Brazil against Argentina".

Ozil met Erdogan in May along with fellow Germany global Ilkay Gundogan, the Manchester City player who is also of Turkish descent.

Although Ozil may have found failings with his worldwide team, the player's club side Arsenal were quick to welcome the player back as he reported for training on Tuesday for the first time since the story unfolded.

"The German team lost the games against Mexico and South Korea, not only Mesut Ozil".

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Fellow players have their say.

"Every player, no matter whether they are in the public eye or not, has a right to be protected from abuse, discrimination and messages expressing hate".

Speaking to Turkish journalists on Sunday, Erdogan said: 'it's truly unacceptable that a young man who has given everything to the German national team and has contributed to its success is facing such a racist attitude because of his religion'.

31-year-old Boateng featured alongside Ozil in Germany's U-21 team, before opting to represent Ghana at senior level.

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Several prominent officials in Turkey, including the head of the Turkish Football Federation Yildirim Demiroren, have thrown their support behind Ozil since he announced on Sunday that he would not play again for Germany.

Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader's crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup.

The player himself looked defiant in the face of the media whirlwind surrounding him, posting a snap of himself alongside teammate Mohamed Elneny in Arsenal's summer training camp with the simple caption "Preseason work".

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