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Turkey prepares to host Israeli volleyball team

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News | 7/19/2010 12:00:00 AM | Sevil KÜÇÜKKOŞUM

Despite the cancellation of previous sporting matches between Israel and Turkey, an Israeli women's volleyball team is preparing to come to Ankara for games July 24 and 25.

Despite the cancellation of previous sporting matches between Israel and Turkey for political reasons, an Israeli women’s volleyball team is preparing to come to Ankara for games July 24 and 25.

Four matches between Turkey and Israel were canceled in June at the request of the Turkish Volleyball Federation due to political tensions that arose following a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza.

Turkey and Israel were exempted from the European League Group B matches that were to be played in Turkey and in Israel, while both teams were declared the winner for their home dates.

Israel, however, has now qualified for the 2010 Women's European Volleyball League finals, which will take place next week in the Turkish capital.

Israeli Embassy Spokesman Amit Zarouk confirmed to the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review on Monday that the team would travel to Ankara for the matches.

The winner of the finals in Turkey will have the right to then participate in the Grand Prix finals.

“Since the matches are for the finals, it is an acquired right for the Israelis,” a Turkish Volleyball Federation official told the Daily News on Monday, adding that it was not possible for Turkey to request a cancellation.

Since Israel’s first match is against Serbia, not Turkey, there is less likely to be tension during the game, according to the officials.

Speaking to reporters, Yunus Akgül, director general of Youth and Sports, said there was no reason to worry during the passage of the tournament.

“We well take necessary safety measures with security officials. We will host Israel as we do other countries,” Akgül said Sunday.

“The organization is continuing on its normal course. Sports and diplomacy are separate. We should keep sports out of politics,” Volleyball Federation President Erol Ünal Karabıyık told reporters Sunday.

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