The German FA are unhappy with Arsenal star Mesut Ozil and Manchester City‘s Ilkay Gundogan after they were pictured alongside Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the build-up to elections in Turkey.
The Twitter account of Turkey’s ruling AK Parti shared an image of Ozil and Gundogan – German internationals born in Gelsenkirchen as the third-generations to have emigrated to the country from Turkey – alongside Turkish international and Everton striker Cenk Tosun with Erdogan in London on Sunday.
Former Germany international Oliver Bierhoff, now team co-ordinator at the DFB, warned Ozil and Gundogan that their appearance alongside Erdogan would be discussed if and when they report to the squad before the World Cup.
“The DFB of course respects the special situation for our players with migrant backgrounds, but football and the DFB stands for values that Mr Erdogan does not sufficiently respect,” DFB president Reinhard Grindel said.
“Therefore, it is not a good thing that our internationals have let themselves be exploited for his election campaign stunt. It certainly hasn’t helped the DFB’s integration efforts.”
Bierhoff said: “I still have absolutely no doubts about Mesut and Ilkay’s commitment to playing for the Germany national team and how much they identify with our values.
“They were unaware of the symbolism of these pictures, but we cannot endorse it, and we will discuss the matter with the players.”