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The hometown of Turkish-German football star Mesut Özil will soon replace his photo in a German national team jersey with another one in which he is seen with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Axar.az reports citing Hurriyet.
“We are removing this photo and we will put up his photo with our President Erdoğan,” Devrek Mayor Mustafa Semerci told Demirören News Agency on July 23.
Devrek is a district of the northern Turkish province of Zonguldak, which is famous for its hand-made wooden walking sticks.
The town had renamed its main avenue after Mesut Özil following his successes in Germany. A large placard with Özil’s photo was also put up to show the avenue’s new name.
Özil’s family hails from Hışıroğlu, a village in the district, which was visited by the football star in 2011 when he was playing for Real Madrid.
“We are proud of Mesut’s decision to retire from the German national team. We love him so much as the people of this village. We support him,” the village head Abdurrahman Yanaz said.
Serdar Öztürk, another village local who said he played football with Özil when they were still children, told the agency that the 29-year-old star has been victimized in Germany.
“Criticism against him was unfair. He had played an important role when Germany won the World Cup in 2014,” Öztürk said.
2018.07.24 / 16:50