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Löw warns of Turkish 'aggressive' recruitment

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Löw warns of Turkish 'aggressive' recruitment
Photo: DPA
16:15 CET+01:00
Germany coach Joachim Löw warned Friday against the "aggressive" approach of the Turkish football federation in its efforts to recruit German-born and trained Turks to its national team.

An estimated 3.5 million people of Turkish origin have made Germany their home, and as a result some have gone on to play for the national team.

Most recently, Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Özil - who is of Turkish origin but was born in Germany - opted to play for the German national side.

Now Löw admits the Turks are fighting back, but he said the German federation will be honest with players about their chances of making the national side.

"We know that the Turkish federation has an aggressive policy aimed at young players (of Turkish origin) who have been trained in Germany," Löw told German daily Bild Friday.

"We're not going to put significant pressure on these players, but we will have an open and sincere dialogue with them and we won't fill their heads with promises."

The Turkish federation has its own offices in Germany, with a dedicated scout, former Bundesliga player Erdal Keser, who was recently instrumental in persuading Mehmet Ekici, a Germany under-21 player who is currently on loan at Nuremberg from Bayern Munich, to pledge his future to Turkey.

The same efforts are being made to persuade Omer Toprak, who helped Germany's under-19 side to the European title, to jump ship and play for Turkey.

Löw would not say whether either player had a chance of playing for Germany's senior side, but said: "I'm going to sit down and talk with this player (Toprak) and show him the kind of prospects he has with us."

The general feeling in Germany is that Turkey is still riled by Özil's decision to play for Germany. The brothers Hamit and Halil Altintop, as well as Nuri Sahin - all of whom were born in the same Ruhr region as Özil - opted to play for the country of their parents.

It has become a burning issue at the German football federation (DFB) – in the younger national teams the number of players with non-German origins are is the rise. In Germany's under-18 squad 10 of the 22 players are from immigrant families, and four of the 10 are of Turkish origin.

FIFA rules currently allow players a degree of liberty when representing countries below senior level. Once at senior level, the choice is however definitive.

Former World Cup winners Germany finished third at the 2010 event in South Africa last summer. Turkey have qualified for the World Cup only three times, reaching the semi-finals in 2002 and, after defeat to Brazil, beating South Korea in the match for third place.

AFP/ka

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