Istanbul [Turkey], June 15 (ANI): The extravagant wedding of former German midfielder Mesut Ozil sparked controversy this week after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was seen attending the ceremony as best man to the footballer.
Ozil, a German national of Turkish descent, tied the knot with his longtime partner and actress Amine Gulse at a private ceremony at the luxurious Four Seasons hotel along the Bosporus in Istanbul on June 7, in the presence of many statesmen, celebrities, and Erdogan as a legal witness, The Washington Post reported.
Photos of the wedding showed a smiling Erdogan and his wife Emine standing next to the couple as their marriage was formalised.
According to Al Jazeera, Ozil announced in March this year that he had asked Erdogan to be his best man.
The roles, reportedly required of one man and one woman for secular Turkish weddings, are often discharged by the people close to the couple.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Helge Braun, told the state media that the selection "makes one sad."Erdogan's presence at Ozil's marriage comes ahead of the Mayoral election in Istanbul on June 23, required after the original voting in March was annulled following a narrow victory for the main opposition Republican People's Party.
Before entering politics, Erdogan was a semi-professional footballer, and he often poses with prominent players of Turkish descent.
The footballer whipped up a political storm when he was pictured alongside Erdogan, in May 2018. Criticism intensified after Germany crashed out of the first round of the World Cup in Russia.
Ozil and German teammate Ilkay Gundogan were heavily criticized for posing with the President before the 2018 World Cup.
After Germany's disappointing first-round exit in Russia, Ozil quit the national team, citing racism. He totalled 92 caps for Germany before that decision.
"I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," he said, lashing out in a letter posted online.
Ozil and Gulse, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2014, also made a hefty donation to the Turkish Red Crescent to provide a meal to some 15,000 Syrian refugees. (ANI)