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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Turkey unrest triggers concern for Games

PHOTOS: Turkey unrest triggers concern for Games

June 10, 2013 14:36 IST

PHOTOS: Turkey unrest triggers concern for Games

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Violent protests across several major Turkish cities since the end of May have raised concerns for the safety of the upcoming Mediterranean Games in the country's coastal city of Mersin.

In a letter obtained by Reuters and addressed to 2013 Mediterranean Games organisers, the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (ICMG) is asking for security assurances and more information regarding the on-going demonstrations.


Image: Members of the Turkish community living in Malta take part in a peaceful protest in solidarity with their compatriots in Turkey
Photographs: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

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'Mediterranean family finds this situation quite worrying'

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"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 Ugur 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.


Image: A newlywed couple joins protesters as they march towards Taksim Square in Istanbul
Photographs: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

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'Demonstrations have spread to several major cities'

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Mersin will host the international multi-sports event between June 20-30.

Istanbul, bidding to host the 2020 Olympics, has witnessed tens of thousands of people flooding the central Taksim Square, where protests began nine days ago.

The demonstrations have spread to several major cities, including the capital Ankara, with under-fire Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warning that his patience was running out.

Western countries have held up Erdogan's Turkey as an example of an Islamic democracy that could be emulated elsewhere in the Middle East but violent police action has drawn sharp criticism.


Image: Anti-government protesters attend a demonstration in central Ankara
Photographs: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

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'Necessary measures have been taken'

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"In order to reassure the Mediterranean family, I think it would be useful if you could give to ICMG and all Mediterranean NOCs (national Olympic committees) more precise information about the situation in the area Adana-Mersin and also the assurance that all the necessary measures have been taken in order to ensure the safety of the Games."

The Olympics-style event is held once every four years, with some 24 countries from the Mediterranean basin competing in 27 sports including athletics, swimming, gymnastics, football and basketball.

Mediterranean Games organisers could not be immediately reached for a comment.


Image: Anti-government protesters gather for a rally in Istanbul's Taksim square
Photographs: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters

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