Gundogan hits back at criticism for liking controversial Tosun post
Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan hit back after he was criticised for liking a supposedly politically charged social media post from Turkey striker Cenk Tosun, insisting he was only trying to "support" a friend.
Everton forward Tosun scored a late winner in Turkey's 1-0 victory over Albania on Friday – he and team-mates celebrating with a military-style salute.
Those actions were widely interpreted as a gesture of support of Turkey's armed offensive against Kurds in Syria.
Tosun subsequently posted a photo of celebration on social media and Gundogan and Germany team-mate Emre Can 'liked' the upload.
Germany players Ilkay Gündogan and Emre Can have liked and since unliked this instagram post by Everton and Turkey striker Cenk Tosun in support of Turkish military operation against Kurds in Syria. #KurdishGenocide #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/m8RmsMAeJq— Max Merrill (@MaxMerrill_) 13 de octubre de 2019Featured links
But Gundogan – who has previously been pictured with Turkey's controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – insists he was not trying to make a political statement by interacting with Tosun's post.
"It is blatant what is written these days is for clicks. I thought I liked a photo of a friend I've lived with in Manchester, who's having a tough time at Everton, barely playing, then scoring a goal and leading his team to victory," Gundogan told reporters after scoring a brace in Germany's 3-0 win over Estonia.
"Next, I believe 200,000 other people have liked this image, footballers from all over the world. Then we are the two picked and made a story out of. It's a pity.
"There was absolutely no political intention behind it. Emre and I are both consistent against any kind of war and terror, no matter where it takes place in the world.
"That's why it was only intended as a pure support for our friend."