A senior Turkish lawmaker said enmity towards Turks, Islam and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once again manifested after German footballer Mesut Ozil quitted the national team, citing racial discrimination.
Ozil, who has Turkish origins, announced his retirement from the German national football team on Sunday citing “discrimination and racism”.
Mustafa Yeneroglu, a lawmaker and a member of Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, told Anadolu Agency that racist rhetoric has been an emerging trend among middle and upper classes in Germany in recent years.
The Germany’s star player has been criticized by German politicians and media outlets after he met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, ahead of elections in Turkey.
In a series of tweets, Ozil defended his meeting with Erdogan during a charitable event in London, saying a picture with the Turkish president was not about politics or elections.
“It was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country,” he tweeted. “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” he added.
Yeneroglu said Ozil raised his voice via a message in English against the racist attacks and insults he was subjected to.
“This reaction of Ozil articulated the feelings of millions of migrants who live in Germany and Europe. It articulated the feelings of Muslims. They view Ozil as a hero,” Yeneroglu said.
He said Muslims and especially the Turks living in Germany are viewed as a “threat” in the long-run for German nation-state.
– Anti- Turkish sentiment in Germany
Yeneroglu said anti-Turkish sentiment is a problem beyond racism and when this issue arises, different ideological poles meet at the common point.
“Especially there is an inimical approach towards Turks,” he added.
Yeneroglu said anti-Turkish sentiment in Germany is mainly focusing on Erdogan because his stance and character contradicts with the image that Germans made for Turks.
He said racist rhetoric in Germany has reached to critical levels and even ministers are promoting these rhetoric.
Yeneroglu called on the German government to condemn the racist statements.
There are many German correspondents in Turkey and German public’s perception about Turkey is being molded by the negative news made by these correspondents, Yeneroglu said.
He added that agenda in Turkey takes a much more important place in the news than many internal issues of Germany.