Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Mesut Ozil marries in Istanbul with Recep Tayyip Erdogan as best man

The couple got engaged in June 2018

Mesut Ozil was married in Istanbul on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.

The German international player, who has Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Mr Erdogan, raising questions about the footballer's loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign.

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 Arsenal midfielder marry his fiancee, former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse.

A smiling Mr Erdogan and his wife Emine were seen standing next to the young couple as their marriage was formalised.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the ceremony over the Bosporus in Istanbul on Friday. AP
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the ceremony over the Bosporus in Istanbul on Friday. AP

After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Mr Ozil suddenly quit the national squad last July, accusing German football officials of racism.

Mr Ozil announced in March that he had asked Mr Erdogan to be his best man.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff was part of a chorus of criticism of the invitation.

Helge Braun, a CDU member told the Bild newspaper then that it "makes one sad" that Mr Ozil would make a such a move despite having already been sharply criticised by the German public over his first meeting with Mr Erdogan.

Mr Ozil has dated Ms Gulse since 2017 and the couple announced their engagement in June 2018.

The footballer, a third-generation German, whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Mr Erdogan last May.

Criticism intensified after the red-faced defending champions crashed out of the first round of the World Cup in Russia.

In the wake of the World Cup fiasco, Mr Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying: "I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose".

Mr Erdogan's presence at Mr Ozil's marriage comes ahead of a mayoral election in Istanbul on June 23, required after the original voting in March was annulled following a narrow victory for the main opposition Republican People's Party.

Updated: June 8, 2019 01:24 PM

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