For days now, European media has been talking about Turkish footballer Mesut Özil, who quit the German national team to protest the discrimination in the country. The last straw that pushed Özil to walk away from the national team was a picture taken of him with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the U.K. In the aftermath of this picture, Özil was literally lynched in Germany, with many German politicians starting to question his "commitment to Germany's democratic values." Moreover, not only right-wing and racist Germans, but also some leftist politicians, including Green Party Co-chair Cem Özdemir, blamed Özil for not assimilating and integrating and pointed him out as a target.Following this pressure, the famous footballer announced his resignation with a statement saying in a nutshell, "In their eyes, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose."
"I have this feeling of racism and disrespect. My family and I are being threatened," Özil said, reminding people about the following statement made by German Football Association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel while serving as a member of parliament, "Multiculturalism is in fact a myth and a lifelong lie."
Özil has reminded us that this confession is all too true. The instances experienced in recent history and today are evidence of this big lie.
What's more, the problem that sometimes goes as far as to burn Turkish-origin citizens while sleeping in their beds is not limited to Germany alone. It is true for all of Europe. In many countries, right-wing populist movements that regard European Union citizens of Turkish origin as "internal threats" are either on the rise or in power.
However, it is a big mistake to think that this rising xenophobia is the problem of Turks, Muslims or "foreign citizens." This is because the strengthening of populist approaches that direct people by touching on their weak spots has the potential to ignite a fire that will burn all the peoples of Europe. This is just like the discrimination against "some citizens" in Germany in the 1940s that ultimately hurt all European peoples.We do not know when the European Union, which was founded after World War II to prevent the rising populism and neighbors on the old continent from going against each other, will understand the gravity of the issue and when it will take action.
However, Europe, which has been broken down to unstable governments as it moves away from global economic competition, has to stop cloaking its real problems with xenophobia. Because this "final solution" is as unreasonable as it is immoral.