Turkey Slams 'Scandalous' German Criticism of Footballers' Erdogan Meeting

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a crowd during the congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party's Ankara youth branches at the Ankara Sports Hall in the capital Ankara Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a crowd during the congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party's Ankara youth branches at the Ankara Sports Hall in the capital Ankara Turkey

DFB president Reinhard Grinded said: "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".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a visit to London, slammed what he called a "very, very unfortunate" move, saying that it had stripped Washington of its role as mediator in the Middle East peace process. "That's why it's not good our national team players allowed themselves to be misused for his election campaign maneuvers".

The Turkish president added that a "big rally" would be held in Istanbul on Friday over the violence in Gaza.

Cem Ozdemir, former leader of the German Green party and himself of Turkish origin, was also scathing.

German national team's coordinator Oliver Bierhoff said that he would talk with the players over the issue.

The move is widely regarded as a plan to shore up his power in the country, and comes as global pressure mounts on the president for his suppression of political dissent. Something that is legitimate for them can not be illegitimate for us.

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Erdogan, in power for the last 15 years as premier and now president, will seek a new term in snap June 24 polls.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television broadcast on Tuesday, Erdogan said the central bank was independent but it can not ignore signals from the head of the executive once the switch to a presidential system is complete.

Ozil and Gundogan are expected to play a major role in Germany's exploits at the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation and will look to put this controversy behind them when they pull on the Die Mannschaft jersey. Footballers of any nationality will always be welcomed by our president, especially when they are the ones who want to have such a meeting.

While it shouldn't harm their inclusion in Joachim Low's squad, it is certainly not the best thing to come out a month before the start of the tournament.

"That is one of the reasons he met them yesterday (Sunday), to ask them how many goals they scored etc, it was football chatting but I have to make it clear they are not part of our campaign and there is no intention of bringing them into our campaign".

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