Is Mesut Ozil Kurdish or Turkish

Mesut Özil: Because of apolitical

Actually, thought Ünsal Arik, he could no longer be surprised. The professional boxer is known for his aversion to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He is used to hostility from Turkish nationalists. But what has happened in the past few days hit him very hard, he says.

Arik criticized Mesut Özil and the Turkish President in an interview on Monday. One of his sponsors canceled his contract on Tuesday, he says. "I was told that my clear words were appreciated, but that they were too afraid to mess with Erdoğan," says Arik in an excited voice. Many of his Turkish fans would also be hostile to him now. "They just cheered me," says the boxer. "I am left alone on all sides. Many see Özil as a victim of German racists, but it is forgotten that he confessed to the autocrat Erdoğan."

The European and world champion in boxing was born in Parsberg, Bavaria, but he boxes for Turkey. "Because I see myself as a Turk and love my country," he says in the Upper Palatinate dialect. "But I also see what is terrible is happening in this country - and I do not meet with evil people and do not support a dictatorship," he criticizes Özil's behavior.

In his sensational statement on Sunday, Özil wrote about the photo opportunity: "My job is a footballer, not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any politics." And further: "For me it didn't matter who the president was, but that it was the president."

How does this affect Erdoğan's victims?

So he wants the meeting to be understood as an apolitical one. But how apolitical can a picture be with a statesman whose course is becoming more and more repressive and who has consistently taken action against government critics since the failed coup attempt two years ago? And how does it affect the people who are suffering from Erdoğan's policy?

Migration researcher and psychologist Hacı-Halil Uslucan also has a few doubts about Özil's assertion that the date was apolitical. "Of course, Özil sympathizes with the AKP and Erdoğan, but we cannot say with certainty how far they will go." In Özil's attitude he recognizes "a widespread phenomenon among people of Turkish origin: the attitude towards authorities is less critical than it corresponds to our German ideas of equality," he says.

The picture with Erdoğan was politically insensitive, Uslucan said. "But like so many AKP and Erdoğan sympathizers, Özil is not affected by the negative effects of the AKP policy. He cannot really understand the effects of the reprisals against dissenters in Turkey. Human rights are only for a smaller elite a yardstick by which they measure the Turkish government. "

A little self-criticism would not have harmed the athlete, says Uslucan, who finds Özil's resignation, despite the picture affair, humanly understandable. "This sadistic need to follow suit did not stop. Suddenly the country from Uli Hoeneß to Reinhard Grindel was full of democratic theorists."

Criticism also from Deniz Naki

Such statements are incomprehensible to the professional boxer Arik. If it were up to him, then the DFB should have kicked Özil out. Through his numerous meetings with Erdoğan, he had shown exactly whose side he was on. Yes, the debate about Özil was partly racist, admits Arik. "But there is racism everywhere." He is reminiscent of the German-Kurdish footballer Deniz Naki, who met with the Kurdish opposition politician Selahattin Demirtaş, who has now been imprisoned, and was then banned from the Turkish Football Federation for life. The reason is "discrimination and ideological propaganda".

Naki himself has meanwhile also turned to Özil and the public. He writes: "Those who will receive you with open arms on your next trip to Turkey will be exactly the same as those who attack me in a racist manner. There is no differentiation between fascists, they are the same everywhere, in every country." In January, Naki was shot by strangers on the highway.

Isn't the boxer Ünsal Arik afraid of being attacked because of his harsh words, for example by Turkish nationalists? Arik doesn't have to think long: "Then I'll invite you to my funeral," he says calmly.