Germans angry as Ozil invites Turkey president to wedding
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has sparked a storm with his choice of guests for his wedding scheduled to be held later this year.
According to media reports, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff has joined the growing chorus of criticism after the left-footed star player reportedly invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodogan to his wedding as a witness.
The 30-year old Ozil, who has Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last May when he was photographed with President Erodogan. The picture raised questions about the footballer’s loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous World Cup campaign.
After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Ozil suddenly quit the national team squad last July, accusing German football officials of racism.
Germany’s tabloid Bild reported this week that Ozil and his model fiancee Amine Gulse, 25, a former Miss Turkey, personally presented an invitation card to President Erdogan in Istanbul.
The invite immediately drew sharp criticism in Germany, whose government has been sharply at odds with Ankara over a range of human rights questions in recent years.
“The fact that this has continued will have disappointed a lot of football fans – me too!” said Helge Braun, Merkel’s Chief of Staff.
“Footballers are symbolic figures in our society with whom people identify with much more than ministers.”
Ozil has dated Gulse since 2017 and the couple announced their engagement in June 2018.