DFB chief targets Gundogan and Can over social media likes related to military-style salutes by Turkish players
In an exclusive interview published in Die Welt daily on Thursday, Fritz Keller -- the German football federation's new president -- hit out at two football players with Turkish roots [Manchester City midfielder Gundogan and Juventus midfielder Can] for their social media likes related to military-style salutes made by Turkish players after Cenk Tosun's winning goal during the Albania clash.
The German football federation's new president has criticized Germany internationals Ilkay Gundogan and Emre Can for social media likes of recent military-style salutes by Turkish players.
Fritz Keller, who became DFB president in September, told Die Welt daily published on Thursday the players were "not innocent" in the renewed debate about integration in Germany.
But in defence of the players, Fritz said it was "too much to ask that two football players with Turkish roots should present the perfect solution a whole country does not have."
Manchester City midfielder Gundogan and Juventus midfielder Can had posted likes on an Instagram picture last month showing Turkey players making a military salute in celebration after Cenk Tosun's winning goal in a match with Albania.
The game had come after a Turkey-led forces launched a cross-border military operation to kick the People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Daesh terrorists out of northern Syria.
European football governing body UEFA said last month it was looking at possible sanctions against Turkey after a similar salute celebration which followed against France.
Both Gundogan and Can removed their likes and denied they had intended making a political statement.
Fritz said: "Sensitive topics must be dealt with sensitively in social media. So much may be expected. And we as DFB must critically question ourselves as to whether we are doing everything right in dealing with the issue."
But the federation boss said that on the issue of integration the "entire German society" had difficulty with the question of how it can succeed and how "each and everyone one of us can contribute" or how "for example deal with Turkey."