German outrage after football stars pose with Turkish President Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a crowd during the congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party's Ankara youth branches at the Ankara Sports Hall in the capital Ankara Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a crowd during the congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party's Ankara youth branches at the Ankara Sports Hall in the capital Ankara Turkey

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.

"President Erdogan has a very unorthodox view on the monetary policy arguing that if interest rates fall, inflation will decelerate as well", Rabobank's Piotr Matys wrote in a note to clients.

"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", Grindel said, as quoted by ESPN.

"It's unusual that German footballers would let themselves be used in the election campaign of a Turkish president who has so recently made disparaging remarks about Germany", Hans-Peter Friedrich, deputy speaker of the German parliament said. "Our players have not helped our integration work".

DFB director Oliver Bierhoff added: "Neither one of them was aware of the symbolic value of this photo, but it's clearly not right and we'll be talking to them about it".

"They were unaware of the symbolism of these pictures, but we can not endorse it, and we will discuss the matter with the players". The main question is whether the two German national players still fit into our German team.

"Football is our life, not politics".

German Football Federation (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel responded that worldwide players should not let themselves be "manipulated" in Erdogan's election campaign.

Servet Yardimci, vice president of the Turkish football federation defended the photo.

"The thoughts expressed by the DFB president are absolutely unacceptable", Demiroren said in a TFF statement.

"In that sense, his meeting with Germany internationals Mesut Özil and İlkay Gündoğan as well as Turkey global striker Cenk Tosun, who are all Germany-born professional footballers with Turkish descent, is only natural. Since they will ask the president about it, we have to give off the image of a president who is effective in monetary policies", he said.

"It is a awful mistake to mix politics with football as can be seen from the German president example".

"The Turkish Football Federation will engage in no such behaviour and will continue its bid for Euro 2024 to the end within the rules of UEFA", he said.

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