Germany midfielder Massoud Ozil decided Sunday to retire from international football. The decision in Germany raised controversy about the growing problem of “racism” and about the motives of Turkish origin, which was an example of integration. Chancellor Angela Merkel said she respected his decision, asserting that sports contribute to integration.
Turkey midfielder Masoud Ozil had retired from international football and accused his critics of “racism” of controversy in Germany, at a time when Turkey had scored a “goal against the virus of fascism.”
The pages of the widely-circulated Bild newspaper included the harshest comments against Ozil, and they have not hesitated to launch a campaign against him for weeks, especially since his meeting in May with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and taking a picture with him, Loyalty to Germany, just weeks before the start of the World Cup.
The newspaper also criticized the resignation of the list “to grumble” and support the champion of the 2014 World Cup “tyrant” seeks to impose an “Islamic dictatorship.” Bild did not hesitate to renew criticism of Ozil’s “bad” performance, which helped to exclude Germany from the first round of the 2018 World Cup.
“I congratulate Massoud Ozil, who scored his decision to leave Germany the best goal against the virus of fascism,” Turkish Justice Minister Abdelhamid Gul said on Twitter.
Ozil was born in Germany to a Turkish family living there and gave up his Turkish citizenship in 2007 to become a German.
Turkish-German relations have been strained since the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016, and Ankara’s condemnation of Berlin accusing it of cracking down on opponents of the regime. Erdogan goes so far as to compare contemporary Germany with Nazism.
Ozil’s message to Merkel
Ozil, 29, attacked on Sunday in a four-page letter posted on his Twitter account, media he said mistreated him as a victim of “racism.” The German Football Federation (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel, a former Conservative MP and fierce political critic of multiculturalism, was particularly charged.
In contrast, none of his colleagues or coach Joachim Loew commented on his decision and his remarks. But the German Football Federation (DFB) denied in a statement Monday that Ozil had accused him of racial discrimination against the head of the union, Reinhard Grindel, and announced his retirement from international football with the Manchavt.
“We reject the idea that the German football association is linked to racism,” the statement said. “The German Federation stands with diversity regarding its representatives, staff and clubs, and the performance of millions of volunteers at the grassroots level.”
But Chancellor Angela Merkel said she respected Ozil’s decision, saying sports played an essential role in the integration process. “The chancellor is very grateful to Massoud Ozil,” said spokeswoman Ulrike Demer. “He is a great football player who has given a lot to the national team. He has now made his decision and should be respected.”
“Germany suffers from racism.”
Politicians and newspapers critical of Ozil’s move acknowledge that Germany has a problem with racism and that the issue is not at all accidental because the German-Turkish player is an example of integration. His departure comes at a time of unprecedented rise to the extreme right since 1945 by the Alternative Party for Germany,
Justice Minister Katarina Barley said the case was “a threat when a great German player like Ozil feels that he no longer belongs to his country because of racism.”
The newspaper “Tag Spiegel” in Berlin condemned the “populist atmosphere in the country” and considered that “the departure of Massoud Ozil is a political, political and social break. It goes beyond the future of the German team.”
The head of the Council of the Turkish Community in Germany, Gokay Suko Oglu, said Germany’s “pluralism” was threatened after it was “an example.”
Ozil professes to be a Muslim, and for two years has been subjected to an “alternative party for Germany” campaign. Party official Alice Fidel said on Monday that Ozil was “the most prominent example of the failure of the integration of immigrants from the Turkish Islamic world.”
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