Turkish President Erdogan comes to Ozil's defence

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The 29-year-old announced his worldwide departure on Sunday, citing racism in the aftermath of the 2014 champions' early World Cup exit. "Issuing insane comments about Mesut's football, he thinks, it will create a big reaction and will cover the real issue", he further added.

One of Germany's top football players announced he is quitting the national team over the reaction to a photo he took with Turkey's president in the run-up to this year's World Cup. Not because of some picture, of of political decision.

In his final statement, where he confirmed his retirement, Ozil cited racism as one of the reasons for his decision, referencing times where he was abused for his ancestry, including an instance where he was called a "goat-f***er" by a prominent politician.

Germany's first game after the World Cup debacle is against newly-crowned world champions France in the new Nations League tournament on September 6 in Munich.

Ozil made his global debut in 2009 and won 92 caps for Germany, netting 23 goals.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ozalan from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said: "I congratulate Mesut Ozil".

German football chiefs have yet to respond to Ozil's claims.

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The third-generation Turkish-German was born in Gelsenkirchen and was a key member of his country's 2014 World Cup-winning side.

The Nigerian worldwide was in and out of the Arsenal team throughout last season but is thought to be in new boss Unai Emery's plans for the campaign ahead. "We have so many influences from outside Germany and we say, 'Welcome all the world to Germany.' And Mesut was playing the last 10 years in the national team, Sami Khedira was playing a long time in the national team, [Jerome] Boateng, [Serge] Gnabry - so many influences from outside".

"Whether publicly or not, the player must be protected against messages of discrimination and hatred".

He pointed out that Erdogan also met the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May while in England and said he would have been "disrespecting his ancestors' roots" had he not posed for photographs with the Turkish president.

But he defended his actions by writing on Twitter: "For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn't about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country".

"I think we don't have a problem".

"I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish", said Ozil.

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