Date published: Tuesday 15th May 2018 10:13
The German FA has hit out at Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gunodgan after they posed for pictures with controversial Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Erdoğan has been Turkey president since 2014, and is campaigning for re-election.
Political commentators have accused the 64-year-old of trying to run a dictatorship, and that he is a threat to Turkish democracy.
As part of Erdoğan’s efforts to remain in office, he visited Ozil, Gundogan and Everton striker Cenk Tosun at an event in London on Sunday.
Ozil and Gundogan, German internationals of Turkish heritage, have been criticised for their part in the situation.
I’ve lost any respect I had for Cenk Tosun, Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan. Idiots pic.twitter.com/q1Z11frale
— OnomahIsABaller (@SpursD22) May 14, 2018
“Football and the DFB defend values which are not sufficiently respected by Mr Erdogan,” said DFB president Reinhard Grindel.
“That’s why it’s not good that our international players let themselves be manipulated for his electoral campaign. In doing that, our players have certainly not helped the DFB’s work on integration.”
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”.