Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the treatment of German-Turkish footballer Mesut Ozil was unacceptable after the star quit Germany's national team.
"Such a racist treatment towards a young man who has given his all to the German national team for his religious beliefs is unacceptable," Erdogan told reporters in parliament.
He said he spoke to Ozil on Monday night and described his approach as "beyond any form of admiration", adding that Ozil's critics "could not stomach" the photograph of the footballer and Erdogan that prompted criticism ahead of the World Cup.
The 29-year-old German playmaker of Turkish origin quit international duty, citing racial discrimination from German football officials over his meeting with Erdogan in May.
Ozil's English club Arsenal FC showed its support by sharing his picture on the club's official Twitter account and welcoming him back from the World Cup tournament held in Russia.
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