German stars under fire for posing with Turkey's Erdogan
Germany's DFB soccer federation and several German politicians have criticised two top national soccer players for posing for a photo with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whose policies have come under fire in Europe.
DFB President Reinhard Grindel said the federation respected the special situation of the players, Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan, who have Turkish roots, but said they had been used by Erdogan in his campaign for next month's elections in Turkey.
The pictures, taken in London on Sunday and published by Erdogan's ruling AK Party, show Ozil and Gundogan standing next to the president, all three beaming, and giving him shirts from their English clubs - Arsenal and Manchester City respectively.
Gundogan's shirt had "With respect for my president" written on it. "Football and the DFB stand for values that are not sufficiently respected by Mr Erdogan," the DFB's Grindel tweeted. "Our players have not helped our integration work."
Erdogan is a keen soccer fan and as a young man played the game at a semi-professional level. Relations between the European Union and Turkey have deteriorated over the past two years amid a crackdown by Erdogan's government on suspected supporters of a failed military coup in July 2016.