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Arsenal’s midfielder Ozil dines with Erdogan during Ramadan Iftar


Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mesut Ozil (L), and his fiancee Amine Gulse (R), during an Iftar dinner in Istanbul on Saturday night. AFP

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil dined with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a Ramadan Iftar meal in Istanbul late on Saturday, a move likely to cause a backlash after previous meetings caused controversy.

Images in Turkish media showed a smiling Ozil and model fiancee Amine Gulse, sitting at a table on either side of Erdogan at the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Mesut Ozil in London. File /AFP

The Iftar, the meal for breaking the fast during the Holy month of Ramadan, was also attended by young Turks ahead of Youth and Sports Day on Sunday, a national holiday in Turkey.

In another photo, Ozil and Gulse were sitting in a room with Erdogan, joined by Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency.

Ozil, who has Turkish roots, was criticised in March after inviting Erdogan to his wedding to the former Miss Turkey scheduled for this summer.


Tayyip Erdogan poses with university students during an Iftar dinner in Istanbul on Saturday night. Reuters

He had already sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Erdogan, which led to Ozil becoming a target of xenophobic comments.

After their meeting in May 2018, Ozil's loyalty to Germany was questioned and following a disappointing World Cup performance last year, he left the national squad and claimed there was racism within the German FA. The German FA dismissed his criticism.



Agence France-Presse



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