German footballer and Arsenal star, Mesut Ozil tied knots with his fiance, Amine Gulse, former Miss Turkey in a luxury hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus, Turkey.
Amid the celebrations, Ozil’s best man, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan piqued the interests of many. For many, the earlier controversy was re-ignited.
“I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose”:
In May, 2018, just ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Ozil posted a picture with Turkish President Erdogan sparking a controversy. Relations between the European Union and Turkey were sour over the past two years amid a crackdown by Erdogan’s government on suspected supporters of a failed military coup in July 2016. While geo-political tensions simmered, many individuals also questioned his loyalty? Ozil is a third-generation Turkish-German.
Things got worse after Germany’s poor performance in the World Cup – the 2014 World Champions were humiliated after being sent packing in the first round itself.
Ozil, in a shock news, retired from the German National Football team following the world cup. In a public statement, he wrote, “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose”, referring to the racism he and his family members were subjected to. “The treatment I have received from the DFB (German Football Association) and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt. I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten”.
His statement was interpreted two ways – many agreed with him, saying racism was inherent, while others argued his resignation was a proof of his disloyalty.
His posing with Erdogan as his best man has yet again re-ignited the controversy – the accusations splashed all over social media yet again.
Surgery for a thousand children:
While, photos of his pose with Erdogan are making social media circles, you know what is not? His grand gesture.
A day ahead of his wedding, Ozil and then fiance’ Amine Gulse said they will be paying for surgery for a 1,000 children. The duo announced their decision to forego receiving traditional gifts and asked guests to donate to a charity which funds operations for children in developing countries who suffer from burns, club feet and cleft lip and palate.
In 2014, he donated his 2014 World Cup winnings, an estimated USD 300,000, to pay for 23 Brazilian children to have similar surgeries. He has, in the past, in association with Big Shoe 11, helped numerous children get life-changing surgeries already.