Six German-born Turkish footballers who made it big
Mesut Ozil’s decision to quit playing for the German national team trigged a fierce national debate on ethnicity, racism, and discrimination. Ozil accused the German Football Federation (DFB) of bigotry and discrimination because of his Turkish ancestry.
“I’m a German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” wrote Ozil on a social media post.
He further added, "The treatment I have received from the DFB [German Football Association] and many others makes me no longer want to wear the German national team shirt. I feel unwanted and think what I have achieved since my international debut in 2009 has been forgotten”.
Ozil is a third-generation Turkish-German. Migration of Turks into Germany can be traced back to the 1960’s when West Germany was going through a period of rapid economic growth. As a result, West Germany suffered severe shortages of manpower. They tried to tackle the problem by bringing in Turkish workers to Germany. This strong wave of immigration to West Germany resulted in a sizable Turkish population in Germany.
Many decedents of the Turkish workers in Germany became footballers. While some German-born Turks decided to represent the German national team, several others choose to represent Turkey at the International stage.
Here is a list of six German-born Turkish footballers who made their way into the upper echelons of world football.
#1 Mehmet Scholl (Germany)
Born in Germany of Turkish ancestry, Mehmet started his professional career with Karlsruher before joining Bayern Munich, where he stayed for the rest of his career until his retirement in 2007. An undisputed fan favorite, Mehmet in his 15 seasons with Bayern, won the Bundesliga title 8 times and the Champions League in 2001.
Mehmet Scholl has also featured for the German national team on 36 occasions, scoring 8 goals. Injuries constantly disrupted his international career. Perhaps, the highlight of his International career was winning the European Championships in 1996.