Charges dropped against men accused of crude remarks about Mesut Ozil’s mother

Mike Bedigan, PA
·3 min read

Two men arrested for allegedly making crude remarks about the mother of Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil and threatening security guards outside the star’s home have had the charges dismissed.

Ferhat Ercun and Salaman Ekinci, both 28, were charged with behaving in a threatening or abusive manner outside the multimillion-pound north London property in August last year.

The guards claimed Mr Ercun had sworn in Turkish, made derogatory remarks about their mothers and the mother of Mr Ozil, and threatened to kill them.

Mr Ercun and Mr Ekinci denied the exchange had taken place and said they had been chased and “viciously attacked” by the guards.

The incident took place on August 8 2019 after the two men had met to walk to Hampstead Heath park, passing the German midfielder’s home in Sheldon Avenue several times.

Ferhat Ercun
Ferhat Ercun (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Mr Ercun said that on the second occasion he had been frightened by the guards’ behaviour and told his friend to run.

He said Mr Ekinci had fallen to the floor and that when he went to help he had been hit with a baseball bat, though this was not proven.

“My reaction was to pick (Salaman) up,” he said.

“I got struck across my left temple with a baseball bat. My first instinct was to cover my head.

“I got battered up my left arm and he swung the bat on to my ribs. If I’d stayed there, I would have got beaten up worse.”

The court previously heard evidence from Kemil Sezer, one of the guards, who said that the security staff did not carry baseball bats for their job.

Mr Ekinci was acquitted at a hearing on August 12 this year and gave evidence on behalf of Mr Ercun on Tuesday.

“I didn’t know (the guards), they didn’t know us,” he said.

“It almost felt like a dream, I couldn’t believe it was happening.

“We’ve been put out in the media like we’re criminals, we’re not. I’ve never been in trouble with the police in my life.”

Salaman Ekinci
Salaman Ekinci (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The court heard that the security measures had been put in place by the Premier League star following an incident several weeks previously in which he and a teammate had been the victims of an attempted robbery.

Johan Grefstad, defending, said it was possible that this had caused the guards to be “on high alert” and they had misheard a conversation between Mr Ercun and Mr Ekinici.

“It seems the security guards have overheard something and misconstrued it,” he said

“Once (the guards) heard the footballer’s name… that’s when they perceived a threat.

“Just two weeks before this there was an incident (with Mr Ozil) so it might be they were on high alert, it might be that things are misheard. It might be that they genuinely suspected that something might have happened.”

District Judge Alison Rose said there was little evidence to suggest the guards had been specific targets of any threatening or abusive behaviour and dismissed the charges against Mr Ercun.

“I cannot accept the evidence of the defendant that nothing at all happened on the second occasion,” she said.

“(But) they were young and drunk and both security guards perceived them as such.”

Mr Ercun, who dressed in a dark three-piece suit and was accompanied by members of his family, smiled and sobbed after the verdict was read out.

Mr Ozil, 31, who helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup, was not present at the hearing.