Jun 08 2019

Turkey's Erdoğan takes stage as best man at Mesut Özil's wedding

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stepped up as Germany football star Mesut Özil’s best man at his wedding in Istanbul on Friday.

In March, Özil, a German Turk, told press he would ask Erdoğan to be his best man at his wedding to former Miss Turkey Amine Gülşe.

Gülşe and Özil have been dating since 2017, and announced their engagement last year, the BBC reported. They held their wedding at the luxury Four Seasons Hotel on the banks of the Bosporus.

The footballer’s appearance at a photo-op with Erdoğan in May, 2018, as Turkey geared up for presidential and parliamentary elections, caused an uproar in Germany, where many said it raised questions about his loyalty to German values.

The German and Turkish governments have been involved in a number of spats in recent years, with Erdoğan comparing German officials to Nazis in one especially bitter example in 2017, after his ministers were prevented from holding rallies in Germany.

Özil and the German national football team travelled to Russia in June, 2018, as defending champions for the World Cup. After the Germans crashed out in the first round, Özil quit the national team and hit back at the German media and fans for targeting him after his meeting with Erdoğan.

The footballer said he had been targeted with racist verbal abuse after the 2018 World Cup, and said his family had also received abusive messages and threats.