Suat Atalik banned from playing in Greece, writes open letter
Suat Atalik has been banned from playing chess in Greece. The Turkish grandmaster, who was earlier punished with a 15-month ban from international play by his own federation, forwarded email communication between tournament organizers and the Greek Chess Federation to several chess media. Following a ban from the federation, the organizers informed Atalik that he could not be accepted in their tournament.
Suat Atalik | Photo Wikipedia
On Thursday we received an email from Suat Atalik, in which he quoted emails from chess organizers and officials in Greece. Attached was an open letter by Atalik himself. The subject: a ban from the Greek Chess Federation - Atalik is not allowed to play chess in Greece.
Last Wednesday, July 4th the organizers of the Kavala Open wrote the following to Atalik:
Dear Mr Atalik
We regret to inform you that, according to decision of the Greek Chess Federation (below), we are not permitted to accept you in our Tournament, due to your 15-months punishment of the Turkish Chess Federation. We must apologise about this decision, that isn't ours, regarding our good relationship from the past, since your first participation in our Tournament. We give you below translated the message that yesterday our Federation sent us.
We are sorry about this inconvenience and hope not to stop our cooperation in the future.
The tournament directors
Vassilis Liogkas - Vassilis Theodoridis
At the moment of writing, Atalik is still on the list of participants (last update on June 25th):
The decision by the Kavala organizers to reject Atalik from their tournament was made on the basis of the following note from the Greek Chess Federation.
To the Organizers of International Tournaments in Greece
Mr President, dear chess friends,
The Board of the Greek Chess Federation, in the meeting of 30/6/2012, discussed and accepted a demand of the Turkish Chess federation, not to allow the participation of the chess player Suat Atalik in competitions in Greece. S.Atalik is punished by his federation with 15-months exclusion of matches, punishment which has been confirmed by the Supreme Sports Court of Turkey.
According to the above, the participation of this player in matches that will be held in our country during the summer.
Best sport regards
The President, Georgios Makropoulos
The General Secretary, Panagiotis Nikolopoulos
The letter by Makropoulos & Nikolopoulos reveals that the Turkish Chess Federation, who earlier had excluded Atalik from playing chess in or outside Turkey for a period of 15 months, demanded the Greek Chess Federation to follow suit. We mentioned Atalik's ban in Turkey recently, below our interview with Ali Nihat Yazici, the President of the Turkish Chess Federation.
As Atalik wrote in an earlier letter (which we mentioned back then - you can read it in PDF here), his 15-month ban from play was the result of his refusal to sign an undertaking (PDF here) with which the Turkish Chess Federation requests all of its members to ask permission to play abroad. Besides, by signing the player states that he is responsible for all financial consequences of his participation in a tournament abroad, that he will "act in accordance with the responsibilities of a national athlete" and that he won't commit "any activity against Turkish Republic".
Last month Atalik participated in the Golden Sands tournament in Bulgaria. There, the organizers allowed him to participate, despite receiving a demand from the Turkish Chess Federation to exclude him from the tournament. Yazici wrote to them that Atalik's suspension
should be followed by FIDE and all member federations of FIDE. (...) We protest this situation. We want FIDE clarify the situation and intervene to exclude Mr. Atalik from Golden Sands Tournament. We keep all our legal rights to appeal in GA in Istanbul and in international sport courts and diplomacy.
However, Atalik (and his wife Ekaterina) did finish the tournament, about which Yazici told us:
We will react to this not only in sport court, but also in criminal court.
Now it becomes clear that the Turkish Chess Federation also demanded the Greek Chess Federation to exclude Atalik from all their tournaments, and that this demand was accepted.
The big question is whether this is actually possible from a legal point of view. Suat Atalik doesn't think so, as he writes in an open letter (slightly edited by us) which includes a paragraph from the FIDE Handbook:
Dear chess friends,
As Mr. Yazici could not [succeed] to throw me out of [the] 1st Grand European Open which was held in Golden Sands Bulgaria, he increased his hostility and most likely has written to all the federations to extract me from their tournaments albeit there is no Ethics [committee] neither [a] board decision from FIDE about it since there is no sportive crime by my side.The first sanction for me came in an expected way by Greek Chess Federation and the executive board of the latter came up with a ridiculous decision to prevent my participation for their tournaments only this summer after a meeting at the end of last month.
Approved by the 1979 Congress. Amended by the 1994 Congress.
Moral principles of FIDE for non-FIDE chess competitions.
1. The organizers and the players must be guided by the highest principles of the FIDE Statues:
1. FIDE is concerned exclusively with chess activities.
2. FIDE rejects discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of sex.
3. FIDE observes a strict neutrality in the internal affairs of the national chess federations.
2. In accord with its Statutes, FIDE reaffirms its commitment to the right to play chess and opposes all organized actions that would hinder that right.
3. It is understood that:
1. An organizer of a chess competition has the right to invite any chess player he chooses. Once an invitation has been issued and accepted, it must not be withdrawn.
2. Each player accepts an invitation only on his own free will but in strict accordance with the statutes and resolutions accepted by FIDE.
The paragraphe above is taken from [the] FIDE handbook and it is stated under boycottes. Not only Mr. Yazici's TCF's obligatory demand of permission and undertaking attached to it to gain the right to play in international tournaments for me falls in paragraph 1.3 and 2, his collaboration with [the] Greek Chess federation and IM Makropoulos is an organised action which hinders the right to play chess. Obviously under the command of Greek Chess Federation, [the] Kavala Organisers did not notice 3.1 either.
I personally believe that the chess world is relieved after Mr.Yazici's resignation and now it is turn for one of the most [controversial] figures in chess FIDE deputy president IM Makropoulos after his clear violation of 1.2+1.3 and 2.
GM Suat Atalik
On the one hand it seems like the Greek Chess Federation is overreacting by taking over the ban in Turkey. However, to some extent it is also understandable, since Atalik wasn't just banned by the Turkish Chess Federation. As Ali Nihat Yazici told us, the case was in fact carried to the Turkish Supreme Sport Court and the court rejected the appeal of Atalik and finalized the penalty.
We spoke to one other organizer of a Greek chess tournament (who preferred to stay anonymous, but he's not related to Kavala), who was inclined to reject Atalik from his tournament based on the decision by the Turkish Supreme Sport Court. Another organizer, Giorgos Tsounis, who runs the Negroponte 2012 International, has already stated publicly that Atalik (who is enlisted in the tournament) will be accepted to play, thus disregarding the letter of the Greek Chess Federation. Tsounis asked the federation to provide wrtten evidence regarding the sanction of Atalik.
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