In fact, Ünsal Arik thought he was no longer to be surprised. The professional boxer is known for his aversion to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He is accustomed to hostilities by Turkish nationalists. But what has happened in past few days has hit him very much, he says.
Arik had criticized Mesut Özil and Turkish president in an interview on Monday. Already on Tuesday one of his sponsors canceled contract, he says. "I've been told that I appreciate my clear words, but I'm too afraid to put up with Erdoğan," says Arik with an excited voice. Also many of his Turkish fans would now be enemies. "They just cheered me up," says boxer. "I am left alone from all sides. Many see Özil as victims of German racists, but it is forgotten that he has become known to autocrat Erdoğan. "
The European and world champion in boxing was born in Bavarian Parsberg, but he boxes for Turkey. "Because I see myself as a Turk and love my country," he says in Upper Palatinate dialect. "But I also see what is happening in this country – and I do not meet bad people and do not support dictatorship," he criticizes behavior of Özil.
In his most exciting statement on Sunday, Özil had written to photo event: "My profession is footballer, not politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any politics." And again, "for me it didn't matter who president was, but that it was president."How does this affect Erdoğan's victims?
So he wants to understand meeting as an unpolitical one. But how unpolitical can a picture be with a statesman whose course is becoming more repressive and who has been consistently against government critics since thwarted coup attempt two years ago? And how does it affect people who suffer from Erdoğan policy?
Also migration researcher and psychologist Hacı-Halil Uslucan has a little doubt about Özils assurance that appointment was apolitical. "Of course, Özil has sympathy for ACP and Erdoğan, but how far y go, we cannot say with certainty." In Özils attitude he recognizes "a widespread phenomenon under Türkeistämmigen: attitude to authorities is less critical than it is to our German notions of equal rights," he says.German national team-Özils resignation becomes political federal foreign Minister Heiko Maas sees no reason for an integration debate in resignation of Mesut Özil from DFB team. Ors accuse DFB of racism. © Photo: Carine Ivill/Getty Images
The image with Erdoğan was politically insensitive, according to Uslucan. "But, like so many ACP and Erdoğan sympathizers, Özil is not affected by adverse effects of ACP policy. He cannot really understand what reprisals against dissidents in Turkey have for effects. Human rights are only a yardstick for a smaller elite in which y measure Turkish government. "
A little self-criticism would not have harmed athlete, finds Uslucan, who finds Özils resignation humanly comprehensible in spite of picture affair. "This sadistic need to go on and on, did not cease. Suddenly, land of Uli Hoeneß to Reinhard Grindel was full of democracy orists. "Criticism also by Deniz NAC
For professional boxer Arik, such statements are incomprehensible. If it were up to him, DFB would have had to throw Özil out. Through his numerous meetings with Erdoğan, he has shown exactly on whose side he is standing. Yes, debate about Özil was partly racist, concedes Arik. "But racism is everywhere." He recalls German Kurdish footballer Deniz NAC, who met with now imprisoned Kurdish opposition politician Selahattin Demirtaş and was subsequently banned by Turkish soccer Federation for Life. The reason is "discrimination and ideological propaganda".
NAC himself has now also turned to Özil and public. He writes: "Those who receive you with open arms on next journey to Turkey will be exactly same ones who attack me racistally. There is no difference between fascists, y are same everywhere, in every country. " In January, NAC was shot by unknowns on highway.
Is boxer Ünsal Arik not afraid to be attacked because of his harsh words, for example by Turkish nationalists? Arik does not have to think long: "Then I invite you to my funeral," he says quietly.Updated Date: 28 July 2018, 12:00