Mesut Ozil Gets Married With Turkish President As Best Man

Mesut Ozil Gets Married With Turkish President As Best Man

Mesut Ozil's friendship with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked backlash in Germany.

The Turkish leader arrived in the early evening for Friday's ceremony at a luxury hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus to see the former Arsenal midfielder marry his fiancee, former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse.

Photos of the wedding showed a smiling Erdogan and his wife Emine standing next to the couple as their marriage was formalised.

Last year, Ozil retired from German worldwide football at the age of 29, citing 'disrespect, insults and pressure.' He and teammate Ilkay Gundogan were widely criticised by German media and right-wing groups for posing in a photograph alongside Erdogan.

The newlyweds made sizable donations to the Turkish Red Cross, partly in an effort to feed thousands of Syrian refugees living along the Turkish-Syrian border.

After Germany's disappointing first-round exit in Russia, Ozil quit the national team, citing racism.

The Arsenal midfielder had revealed that he asked Erdogan to be his best man earlier this year, and footage obtained by numerous worldwide broadcasters, now shows that the Turkish leader accepted the offer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff was part of a chorus of criticism of the invitation. Erdogan supported Ozil, saying his treatment was unacceptable after a stellar career for Germany. Criticism intensified after Germany crashed out of the first round of the World Cup in Russian Federation.

"As a professional footballer I am in a fortunate and privileged position", he wrote on Twitter.

"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose", he said, lashing out in a letter posted online. They drew with France 0-0 at home, were defeated by the Netherlands 3-0 and by France 1-2 in an away match.

President Erdogan is understood to be a regular guest at celebrity weddings in Turkey, particularly during election season, and his appearance at Ozil's celebration comes ahead of a re-run of mayoral elections in Istanbul.

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