MESUT OZIL has been slammed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff for inviting controversial Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his wedding.
The Gunners midfielder, 30, wants Erdogan as a witness to his marriage to former Miss Turkey Amine Gulse.
But high-ranking German official Helge Braun has slated the decision, telling Bild it "makes one sad".
Braun accepted the decision of Ozil and Gulse was of a "private" nature, but suggested the "role model" was setting a bad example.
Erdogan's government has been criticised heavily by Germany, who are at odds over a range of human rights issues.
And Ozil was caught up in a political storm after being pictured with Erdogan in London last May – just weeks before Germany's horrendous World Cup campaign.
After learning of Ozil and Gulse's personally-delivered invite, Braun claimed: "The fact that this has continued will have disappointed a lot of football fans – me too!
"Footballers are symbolic figures in our society, with whom people identify with much more than ministers.
"And so the question is raised: how much does someone wearing the German national jersey stand for Germany?"
Third-generation German Ozil – who earned 92 caps during his career – suddenly quit international duty in July 2018, accusing national football chiefs of racism.
At the time, the ex-Real Madrid star said: "I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose."
Now lawmaker Alexander Graf Lambsdorff has slated Ozil's decision to further fan the flames.
Lambsdorff said: "The wedding is the private matter of Mesut Ozil, but he is a world star, who people look up to, so of course it's a pity from a political point of view."
German politician Cem Ozdemir – whose parents are Turkish – added the decision to invite Erdogan was "inappropriate".
Ozil and Gulse announced their engagement in June last year, having been officially dating since 2017.
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