OTHERS > Turkish wrestler suspended six months for racist tweets

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

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Olympic medalist wrestler Rıza Kayaalp. Hürriyet Photo

Olympic medalist wrestler Rıza Kayaalp. Hürriyet Photo

Turkey’s Olympic medalist wrestler Rıza Kayaalp was given an immediate suspension of six months by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) judge for his racist remarks against Armenians and Greeks three weeks ago, an interview with FILA’S President Nenad Lalovic revealed.

Kayaalp had targetted Greeks and Armenians in his tweets posted during the Gezi Park unrest in Turkey started May 31 and rocked the country nearly for two months.

European and World champion Kayaalp, who also won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in London last year, advocated that “Armenians” were at the root of the Gezi protests, in a series of tweets he later deleted.

His tweets included “You just leave the streets to Armenians, you f**ing looters” and “F**k you traitors”.

FILA President Nenad Lalovic has told Greek daily Ekathimerini in an exclusive interview on July 26 that Kayaalp was suspended for his racist tweets from the international matchs.

“He was given an immediate suspension of six months by the FILA judge, and he has the right to appeal. I do not know the exact details as I do not interfere in such activities. We have a prosecutor and a judge. The prosecutor informs the judge about what happens in such incidents. I know this person, he is a young boy and a very good wrestler. I am shocked that he has done this, but it may have been an emotional moment for him, I am not sure that he really thinks that way. But I am not here to judge, just to secure all the democratic procedures, the eventual punishment and so on. The investigation goes on, there will probably be a hearing, an appeal may be,” Lalovic said according to the Kathimerini.

Kayaalp’s tweets wereactually on the anti-government protests which spread throughout the country in June after a police crackdown on a group performing a sit-in against a controversial city center renovation project.

He had deleted his tweets about the protesters, Armenians and Greeks after a reactin from the social media.

Kayaalp had been picked to bear the Turkish flag during the opening ceremony of last month’s Mediterranean Games in Mersin and has also featured in a public service announcement prepared by the Minister of Youth and Sports.


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An Observer

8/12/2013 1:22:05 PM

Clearly not the brightest star in the night sky...

Ali Karp

8/12/2013 10:42:19 AM

He should be the successor to Egemen Bagis! Or maybe to RET.

chris Valacos

8/12/2013 10:32:13 AM

It's a shame that this has happened at a time that wrestling is fighting for it's place in the Olympics. The oil wrestlers who tested positive aren't helping the case much either. This may also damage Turkey's chances of hosting the Olympics. A shame.

Red Tail

8/12/2013 10:00:27 AM

fenerbahçe. In any European country you can critisize religion and the country you are in. You can for example openly state "I dont believe in this silly Christianity" and you can also state "I think Germany is a silly country". But you are not allowed to make public negative comments about for example Jews, Black people etc. It has been like that for a long time and it is not an attempt to undermine Turkey.

Thracian Anatolian

8/12/2013 8:59:25 AM

Very immature of him. But where are the racist tweets? "You leave the streets to Armenians" is supposed to be racist? If this is the only thing he wrote, the penalty is disproportionate. If you really want to see a racist tweet, check what Greek Papachristou wrote before the London Olympics. It was not about mosquitoes (only), but was about black people. A silly tweet that probably people of her like found very funny. I think her penalty was disproportionate too though.

Not Here

8/12/2013 8:46:21 AM

He is disgraceful, but typical!

dennis kavaz

8/12/2013 6:16:47 AM

Whenever an individual that wants to be a good athlete and to be respected by all he/she must learn (first) that they are there competing for themselves, their families “province” and in the International competitions for their “nations” Although during the cold war years in sports including the Olympics politics were utilise; just the same for Athletics Politics and racism however is a bad “practice”

Michael Lance Barrett

8/12/2013 5:56:28 AM

If Turkey wants to be as great as I know it can be, it must embrace all its population regardless of their politics or religion. The AKP liked democracy on the way up but now thinks it knows best. Its amazing how racist religious fanatics can be. It is so easy to blame "the other" for failings. It's called Denial! Gezi Park was just a symptom of a cancer that the current government is fostering. Silence the Press? Legislate morality? So foolish!

young genius

8/11/2013 11:09:15 PM

Just saw his facebook and he likes the AKP and he doesn't like the CHP.

young genius

8/11/2013 11:04:27 PM

you can tell this man is an ignorant and uneducated one. unfortunately there are others that have his mindset.
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