BERLIN – Mesut Özil defends his decision to pose with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a photo. He said that this was not an endorsement of his policy.

The Arsenal star broke the weeks of silence on Sunday and posted a statement in English on Twitter, saying that the photo was "of mine, respecting the highest office of my country's land" and "having no political intentions." ,

Ilkay Gündogan, who also posed for the photo, distances himself from the image that has provoked fierce criticism in Germany.

Some German politicians doubted the loyalty of Özil and Gündogan and suggested that the players, who have Turkish roots, should be beaten before the World Cup from the national team.

After the premature departure of Germany from the tournament, some fans focused their disappointment on Özil and Gündogan.

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