Turkey confident on secure Mediterranean Games

Turkey confident on secure Mediterranean Games

MERSIN - The Associated Press/Reuters
Turkey confident on secure Mediterranean Games

Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç speaks at a Med Games event. AA photo

Organizers of this month’s Mediterranean Games in Turkey say the event is “unaffected” by the anti-government protests sweeping the country.

The organizing committee stated yesterday that “an exhaustive review of the current situation with leading experts found there is no elevated risk to the event participants.”

The Olympic-style games are scheduled for June 20-30 in the Mediterranean coastal city of Mersin. Athletes from two dozen countries are expected to take part. The statement says organizers have worked “to create rigorous safety and security models to deal with all eventualities.”

The protests, which have led to three deaths, entered their 11th day on Monday. They are the first serious challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 10-year rule.

The statement came after the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (ICMG) sent a letter to the Mersin Games officials, asking for security assurances and more information regarding the on-going demonstrations.

“I am writing to express, on behalf of my colleagues, our great concern and sympathy for the unfortunate events that have occurred in Turkey,” ICMG secretary general Isidoros Kouvelos said in the letter addressed to Uğur Erdener, head of Turkey’s Olympic Committee and to Mersin Mediterranean Games organisers.

“As you understand, all the Mediterranean family finds this situation quite worrying, especially as the Opening of the Games of Mersin will be in a few days,” he said in the letter dated June 6.

Mersin will host the international multi-sports event between June 20-30, stepping in less than two years ago after the Greek city of Volos, whose bid was led by Kouvelos, had to hand the Games back due to the country’s fiscal woes.