Recently it was ‘announced’ that Mesut Ozil, and his fiancee Amine Gulşe, invited Recep Tayyip Erdogan to their upcoming wedding but given the drama over the summer when he met him, would he actually invite him?
Mesut Ozil was made a scapegoat for Germany’s poor showing at the Russia World Cup last summer. His meeting with Erdogan, where he presented the dictator with a signed shirt, was held up and used as a reason to castigate him widely.
It would seem strange, then, given the furore over one meeting which was nothing more than a publicity stunt, that the German would invite Erdogan to his wedding.
Over the summer I defended Ozil. The criticism he came in for was excessive but, having investigated this today, it seems like he has indeed invited Erdogan to his upcoming nuptials.
Speaking previously about Erdogan, Ozil said, “As I said, my mother has never let me lose sight of my ancestry, heritage and family traditions.
“For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country. My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies.
“In fact, we spoke about the same topic that we do every time we have met – football – as he too was a player in his youth.
“Although the German media have portrayed something different, the truth is that not meeting with the President would have been disrespecting the roots of my ancestors, who I know would be proud of where I am today.
“For me, it didn’t matter who was President, it mattered that it was the President. Having respect for political office is a view I’m sure both the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May share when they too hosted Erdogan in London.”
This is, of course, a much more nuanced situation and Ozil’s heritage must be taken into account. That being said, he can be proud of his Turkish roots without pandering to an autocrat with serious issues around how he runs his country.
I really hoped when I started looking into this that I would find evidence of a misunderstanding somewhere along the lines. But top journalists from Turkey are reporting it as fact with no denials to be found anywhere.