Turkey – (warsoor) – Mesut Ozil was married in Istanbul today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his best man.
The 30-year-old Ozil, who has Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with 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 former Arsenal midfielder marry his fiancee, former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse.
A smiling Erdogan and his wife Emine were seen standing next to the young couple as their marriage was formalised.
Who is Turkey’s President Erdogan?
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the 12th President of Turkey, having served since 2014. He was previously Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014, having founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001.
He had played football for Kasımpaşa before his 1994 election as Mayor of Istanbul, and underwent a scandal when he was imprisoned for four months for inciting religious hatred.
Towards the beginning of his premiership Turkey was making progress with negotiations to join the European Union – and his popularity was evident from his two constitutional referendum victories in 2007 and 2010.
But after Turkey’s bid to join the bloc stalled, Erdogan’s government was accused of returning to authoritarianism, particularly regarding freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the rights of the country’s Kurdish minority.
His has been a controversial rule, with his government accused of leaning towards autocracy and imposing increasing censorship on Turkey’s media, and a failed coup attempt in 2016 by elements in the military brought about a state of emergency.
In 2017 Erdogan would go on to form an alliance with the country’s right-wing Nationalist Movement Party to establish an executive presidency.
After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Ozil suddenly quit the national squad last July, accusing German football officials of racism.
Ozil announced in March that he had asked 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 told the Bild newspaper then that it ‘makes one sad’ that Ozil would make a such a move despite having already been sharply criticised by the German public over his first meeting with Erdogan.
Ozil has dated 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 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, Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad, saying: ‘I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose’.
Erdogan often attends marriages in Turkey of celebrities, whom he particularly seeks out during election campaigns.
His presence at 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.
Ozil was seen walking with his new wife alongside a parade of beating drums and flares.
The Gunners star also showed off his dance moves as he and his partner jiggled to the music.
Ozil has showed his charitable side this week after making an incredible pledge to help out children in need, all as part of his wedding celebrations.
The Arsenal playmaker issued a statement regarding what guests could expect to bring to his wedding as a gift.
As is common practice wedding goers would bring something nice for the bride and groom, but Ozil has chosen to use his privileged position for the greater good.
Taking to social media, Ozil issued a statement in which he called for guests to join him and Gulse in donating money for those in need.
‘As a professional footballer I am in a fortunate and privileged position. However I invite everyone who is willing and able to help to support a very special project close to both of our hearts that we will undertake with BigShoe,’ wrote Ozil.
‘Amine and I will bear the expenses for surgeries of 1000 children in need. I’d be happy if in addition, many more treatments all over the world can be fulfilled,’ he added.
Ozil then posted an image of himself and Gulse, holding the white ‘BigShoe’ which forms the charity’s emblem.
After beginning to work with the charity in 2014, Ozil has remained an ambassador for BigShoe and worked alongside German and Swiss doctors to help the most vulnerable in society.
It was reported last month, when Ozil and partner Gulse attended a banquet in the city with the president, that the couple had invited Erdogan to be a witness at their wedding.
And it appears that he accepted their invitation as he was photographed speaking and signing a document during the ceremony.
The former Real Madrid player had a glitzy pre-wedding bash in Istanbul on Thursday night.
The pre-wedding party had dozens of guests with belly dancers and traditional Turkish drums.
Ozil and Gulse are expected to set off on honeymoon, and finally enjoy some down-time following an arduous season.
The German has endured mixed fortunes under Unai Emery this season, after finding himself in and out of the starting XI.
Ozil was part of the Arsenal side who faced rivals in Chelsea in the Europa League final last month, but fell to a disappointing 4-1 defeat in Baku.
Source: Daily Mail
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