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Mesut Ozil, whose grandparents are from Turkey, accused Germany's football federation and parts of the country's media of racism.

In a long letter that the Arsenal midfielder shared on social media, he mentioned that is it because of "racism" and "lack of respect" that he made a decision to quit his national team, which he dearly loved till date. "I feel unwanted and think that what I have achieved since my worldwide debut in 2009 has been forgotten". "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".

Ozil has been generally praised by members of the football fraternity for speaking out on the matter. Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader's crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup.

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

Recalling the times when he played in Europe, Ozalan said he had also been exposed to racist attacks.

"It was about me respecting the highest office of my family's country".




A wider social issue for Germany? He is third-generation German-Turk and counts among more than three million people of Turkish origin in Germany. Is it because I'm a Muslim?

Ozil has quit the German national team citing the controversy over a photograph with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as reason for his decision. We had one bed, but they would put a mattress on the floor for me to sleep.

"I kiss him on his eyes", Erdogan said, using a Turkish term of affection for a loved one or friend.

Stephan Mayer, state secretary in the German Interior Ministry, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Ozil was "naive" for thinking the picture was not political given it was just weeks before an election.

"I never speak against Uli Hoeness, but OK, Uli Hoeness was very angry this morning because this was too much the last two months about Mesut Ozil", Matthaus said. The 29-year-old's exit from Die Mannschaft was met with a muted response from fellow players.


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