Arsenal and Germany midfielder, Mesut Ozil has retired from international football after accusing the German football association (DFB) of racism.
The 29-year-old made the announcement today in a lengthy statement, saying “no longer want to wear the German national team shirt”.
He also claimed he was being blamed for Germany’s disappointing World Cup.
“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,” he said in his statement.
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies.
“The treatment I have received from the DFB (German Football Association) and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt.
“I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten.
“People with racially discriminative backgrounds should not be allowed to work in the largest football federation in the world that has players from dual-heritage families. Attitudes like theirs simply do not reflect the players they supposedly represent
“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.,” part of the statement read.
In May, Ozil was criticised after being photographed with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a London event.
Ozil attended the event with fellow Germany international Ilkay Gundogan. Both Ozil and Manchester City’s Gundogan are of Turkish descent.
Ozil says he and Gundogan talked about football with the president.
Afterwards, photographs were released by Turkey’s governing AK Party in the build-up to elections in the country, which Erdogan won outright.
Many German politicians questioned Ozil and Gundogan’s loyalty to German democratic values.
Germany has previously criticised the Turkish leader’s crackdown on political dissent following a failed coup.
Ozil said he would have been “disrespecting his ancestors’ roots” had he not posed for photographs with the Turkish president.
He added that he and his family had received hate mail, threatening phone calls and comments on social media.