Turkish Football Federation backs Mesut Özil in racism row
Turkish Football Federation (TFF) President Yıldırım Demirören has issued a statement to support German-Turkish footballer Mesut Özil, who quit the German national team on July 22 citing racist attitude towards him.
“As the Turkish Football Federation president, I fully support Mesut Özil and his family, and I condiment the treatment and threats he received, and the defamatory messages sent to him because of his origins,” Demirören said in a written statement on July 24.
“Either publicly or not, every player must be protected against discrimination and hate messages.
“All members of the international football community should unite in destroying racism and intolerance and continue this fight without being daunted.
“We must all work together to use football’s potential to develop values including everyone with respect and to create positive social impact,” read the statement by Demirören.
Özil, a third-generation German, has been in the firing line ever since he had his picture taken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May, sparking questions about his loyalty to Germany.
The Arsenal midfielder, 29, announced his resignation from the national squad in a withering statement on July 22 citing “racism and disrespect,” including from the president of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel.
He defended his photo with Erdoğan in July 22’s statement, insisting had no political motive and was merely being respectful towards his heritage and links to Turkey.