Turkish Olympic Officials To Extend Cooperation In Investigation

Turkish Olympic officials will be cooperating with an international anti-doping investigation that has targeted their athletes and will assist in punishing anyone found to have used performance enhancing drugs.

In a statement, the National Olympic Committee of Turkey remarked it is taking this matter very seriously and urgently reviewing all alleged and any confirmed doping cases involving Turkish athletes.

A few days back, track and field’s international governing body confirmed the rumors of widespread doping in Turkey had triggered the investigation. Officials said in a statement that the IAAF is aware of media speculation surrounding recent anti-doping control tests, in and out of competition, of a number of Turkish athletes and following concerns highlighted by abnormal biological passport values, the IAAF, with the national anti-doping agency, intensified the testing program in Turkey, the results of which remain ongoing in accordance with IAAF Rules.

This news came at a crucial time as Istanbul is bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The country’s concerns grew substantially when Asli Cakir Alptekin, last year’s women’s 1500 meters Olympic champion who had already served a two-year doping ban, was provisionally suspended in May this year after abnormalities were detected in her “biological passport” while double European 100m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit tested positive for a prohibited substance.

The statement revealed that the NOC of Turkey and the Turkish government have a zero-tolerance policy on doping in sport and therefore we have been cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, fully with all relevant investigations to resolve these cases as quickly and decisively as possible. It added that the recent doping discoveries have been fully assisted by the Turkish National Anti-doping Agency, who have been working closely with the IAAF and World Anti-doping Agency (WADA). The NOC said in the statement that the fight against doping is one of the most pressing issues facing world sport right now, and Turkey is playing its part as a proud member of the global sports community.

The Telegraph reported that numerous Turkish athletes tested positive in advance of the recent Mediterranean Games and Turkey could be thrown out of the track and field championships, which will be held in Moscow in mid-August, if this comes out true. It is believed that the athletes have all failed tests on their ‘A’ urine samples and are now waiting for the test results from their ‘B’ samples. If the adverse findings are confirmed, it would represent one of the biggest ever doping exposes in athletics within a single country.

If a member federation is considered to be in breach of its obligations under the sport’s anti-doping regulations, the ruling council of IAAF under its rulebook has the authority to suspend the member until the next meeting of the Congress or for any shorter period and to exclude the member’s athletes from any one or more international competition. The IAAF Council, to take such a drastic step, would have to be satisfied that the Turkish federation was either complicit in doping or so negligent that it was in breach of its obligations.

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