Turkey Reacts To Athletes' Doping Suspensions

As many as 30 Turkish track and field athletes reportedly failed urine tests in a target-testing program by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in the last month. The IAAF conducted a large number of tests ahead of and during last month’s Mediterranean Games in the Turkish city of Mersin.

The organization released a statement saying “the IAAF is aware of media speculation surrounding recent anti-doping control tests, in and out of competition, of a number of Turkish athletes. 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 on-going in accordance with IAAF Rules”.

The National Olympic Committee of Turkey said in a statement it was “taking the matter very seriously” and “urgently reviewing all alleged and any confirmed doping cases involving Turkish athletes with the Turkish government and all relevant sports and anti-doping authorities”.

The statement continued “any athletes found guilty of using banned substances will be punished to the full extent of Turkey’s comprehensive anti-doping legislation, other laws, and in accordance with international anti-doping practices”.

Istanbul is one of three cities bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The other two cities are Madrid and Tokyo.

Ugur Erdener, head of Turkey’s national Olympic committee and an IOC member said in a statement Wednesday, “the increase in the number of doping cases…shows that Turkey is fighting doping, and in my opinion, will affect the Olympic bid positively, not negatively”.

He added. “we are pressing ahead with our efforts to combat doping with tests conducted during and outside of competitions. Our fight has received international approval. If as a country, you are taking the necessary measures against doping and these are known internationally, then (the bid) can’t be affected. My personal opinion is that these incidents won’t affect us because every positive test is an indication of the fight against doping”.