Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

Mesut Ozil on India: ‘What is happening to human rights in the so-called largest democracy in the world?’

The former Real Madrid midfielder is the captain of Turkish Super Lig club Fenerbahce.

Mesut OzilMesut Ozil was one of the highest-paid players at Arsenal. (File)

The outspoken German football World Cupper Mesut Ozil has questioned India’s human rights record.

On Wednesday, the 33-year-old footballer, who has been Arsenal’s highest-ever paid footballer, took to Twitter and wrote,” Praying during the holy night of Lailat al-Qadr for the safety and well-being of our Muslim brothers and sisters in India. Let’s spread awareness to this shameful situation! What is happening to the human rights in the so-called largest democracy in the world?#BreakTheSilence.”

The former Real Madrid midfielder is the captain of Turkish Super Lig club Fenerbahce.

In the past too Ozil has made political statements. In December 2019, he posted a poem on social media criticising China’s alleged persecution of Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. His then club Arsenal publicly distanced itself from the player’s sentiments.

Earlier this month, the German player of Turkish origin had spoken about world peace on his Twitter timeline. “Let’s keep praying for peace in the world – not just in Ukraine, but also in Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and all other places in the world where people are suffering from war #StopWAR #JummaMubarak #M1Ö.

In 2018, Ozil was trolled by fans for meeting controversial Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London. Following which German internationals like Oliver Bierhoff and Ottmar Hitzfeld had suggested that he should be dropped from the German World Cup squad.

Reacting to the outrage, Ozil had explained his stand.

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His statement said: “Since then, out paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe. I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions. As I said, my mother has never let me lose sight of my ancestry, heritage and family traditions. For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country. My job is a football player and not a politician, and out meeting was not an endorsement of any policies.”

First published on: 28-04-2022 at 10:14 IST
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