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'It is not possible to accept this kind of racist attitude': Turkish president Erdogan issues support for Ozil

Erdogan says Ozil’s stance is ‘completely patriotic’.

PRESIDENT OF TURKEY Recep Tayyip Erdogan today said he has spoken to Mesut Ozil after his decision to quit the German team on the grounds of racism, offering his praise for the Arsenal player’s move.

“Last night I spoke to Mesut. His attitude in the statement is completely patriotic,” Erdogan said, quoted by state TRT Haber broadcaster.

“It is not possible to accept this kind of racist attitude towards a young man who poured so much sweat for the German national team’s success. This cannot be tolerated.”

Soccer OzilThe photo, taken in May, of Ozil meeting Erdogan which caused such a storm in Germany.Source: AP/PA Images

Ozil's decision to quit playing for Germany and his strongly-worded four-page statement caused uproar in Germany even as it was applauded by Turkish ministers.

He had faced heavy criticism during the World Cup, especially over a controversial photograph with Erdogan in May ahead of presidential and parliamentary polls in Turkey.

Ozil, a key member of the squad which won the 2014 World Cup, criticised the German Football Association (DFB) bosses, sponsors and the media. He also lamented a lack of support from DFB president Reinhard Grindel.

"In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," said Ozil, 29.

South Korea v Germany - FIFA World Cup 2018 - Group F - Kazan Arena Source: DPA/PA Images

But the association said in a statement on Monday that it rejected "the notion that the DFB is associated with racism".

Turkey's justice minister Abdulhamit Gul yesterday congratulated Ozil, saying he had "scored the most beautiful goal against the virus of fascism."

Germany's head coach Joachim Loew was on holiday in Sardinia when news of Ozil's retirement broke on Sunday and he only found out when the Arsenal midfielder posted statements on Twitter and Instagram.

"Neither the national coach nor I were informed in advance," Loew's agent Harun Arslan confirmed to German daily Bild.

A survey of 5,000 Germans by t-online.de showed 49.7% believe Grindel should resign over the saga.

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