Turkish Cypriots slam IOC over Games

Turkish Cypriots slam IOC over Games

Two Turkish Cypriot organizations based in the United Kingdom have issued letters to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge, to complain about Turkish Cyprus not being included in the London Olympics.

British Turkish Cypriot Association Chairman Çetin Ramadan and Southwark Turkish Cypriot Association Chairman Hulusi Yürüten said in a letter to Rogge that the IOC openly promoted inclusion for everyone and denounced political discrimination. 

Same aspirations

“We hope the same principle applies for the sporting rights of Turkish Cypriot athletes from Northern Cyprus. Young Turkish Cypriot athletes also have the same aspirations as all top class world athletes,” he wrote. 

Any world class athlete would consider it an honor to represent their own nation and to 
compete under the colors of their national flag, however, the Turkish Cypriot athletes have put 
aside the politics and compromised their own flag and country by agreeing to participate under the Olympic flag as a positive way forward, the letter said.

Competing under the Olympic falg

“The former President of the IOC, the late Juan Antonio Samaranch, had made an offer to Turkish Cypriots to allow them to participate in all future Olympic Games under the Olympic flag,” the letter added. “Turkish Cypriots are willing to accept participation under the terms laid out by the former IOC President and to join the Games under the Olympic flag as individuals rather than under their own national flag.”

Turkish Cyprus, which was founded after an intervention on the island by the Turkish 
military in 1974, is recognized only by Turkey and is not accepted as a member of international sports organizations.