DFB: Mesut Ozil, Ilkay Gundogan 'Exploited' by Meeting with Turkey's President

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

In a statement, Grindel was quoted by The Mirror saying, "The DFB of course respects the special situation for our players with migrant backgrounds, but football and the DFB stands for values that Mr Erdogan does not sufficiently respect". That's why it's not good that our worldwide players let themselves be manipulated for his electoral campaign.

The pictures, taken in London on Sunday and published by Erdogan's ruling AK Party, show Ozil and Gundogan standing next to the president, all three beaming, and giving him shirts from their English clubs - Arsenal and Manchester City respectively.

"In doing that, our players have certainly not helped the DFB's work on integration".

The meeting comes as Erdogan campaigns for re-election after calling a snap poll for June 24, bringing the vote forward by a year and a half. Veteran Greens lawmaker Cem Ozdemir, with Turkish roots, described them as tasteless and embarrassing.

"The president of an global German footballer is called Frank-Walter Steinmeier, his chancellor Angela Merkel and his parliament the Bundestag, the headquarters of which are in Berlin and not Ankara", Ozdemir told AFP subsidiary SID.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday for accusing Israel of "state terror" and "genocide" after troops killed dozens of Gazans in border clashes. Something that is legitimate for them can not be illegitimate for us.

The move is widely regarded as a plan to shore up his power in the country, and comes as worldwide pressure mounts on the president for his suppression of political dissent.

Turkish football federation vice-president Servet Yardmici, an executive member of the UEFA Board, claimed Erdogan's meeting with the players was centred on "football chat". I say yes. They are political idiots.

The statement comes one day before both Ozil and Gundogan are likely to be named to Germany's preliminary squad for this summer's World Cup in Russian Federation.

"Such actions will increase tensions and insecurity in the world", Ali Larijani said, adding that they would not go "unanswered".

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