Ozil said the meeting did not amount to any endorsement of Erdogan’s policies and added that they had discussed football. AFP / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / KAYHAN OZER
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German football international Mesut Ozil defended Sunday a photograph in which he was pictured beaming with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he was merely respecting the highest political office of his family's country. Ozil, a member of the 2014 World Cup-winning side who played again in this year's tournament, drew criticism at home after he met Erdogan in May.Many fans and politicians in Germany were angered by the photo with Erdogan and it was widely criticized by politicians and Germany's football federation, who argued that Erdogan did not sufficiently respect German values.Earlier this month Oliver Bierhoff, Germany's team manager, said Germany should have considered leaving Ozil out of the World Cup squad following the furore caused by the photo.
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