By Rob Kelly

Oguzhan Ozyakup says he chose to play for Turkey rather than Holland because he had to follow his heart.

The Arsenal midfielder has been a regular for the Dutch youth sides and captained the team to the final of the 2009 Under-17 European Championship.

But the 19-year-old - who was born in Holland - has now officially declared for Turkey and hopes to eventually force his way into Abdullah Avci’s squad.

“I decided now because for a long time it has been in my head that I have two nationalities,” Ozyakup told

“My parents are Turkish but moved to Holland a long time ago. It was a hard decision because I have played for Holland since I was 15.

“I spoke to loads of players, my parents, my family. They just said that it was my decision. A national team is not like a club, it is a country and you have to choose who you feel the most for.

“My Mum and Dad always said to me that it didn't matter who I played for, but I know deep in their hearts they wanted me to play for Turkey. But it was my decision overall.

“You have to follow your heart. If I kept waiting it was going to be harder and harder to decide. I feel that I am Turkish.”

Ozyakup has admired a host of Turkish midfielders down the years, and hopes to follow in their footsteps.

“Emre was a big, big player and now of course there is Mesut Ozil, although he plays for Germany,” he said. “Now we have Nuri Sahin as well. They are all big players to admire.

“First I will hopefully play for the Under-21s and we will see how that goes. If I can play first-team football somewhere, you never know what is going to happen.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
22 Feb 2012