Ali Nihat Yazici speaking on the journalist banning. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.
Evgeny Surov of chess.news received a sanction from Turkish Federation President Ali Nihat Yazici and was not allowed an accreditation at the 40th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey. According to a Chessvibes report and Surov’s own accounts, he was not allowed to enter the playing hall, was not allowed to remain as a spectator and was not allowed to remain on the property.
Surov has a reputation of being a critical journalist, but the point of contention appears to be the scathing article written about the 2011 Women’s Team Championship held in Turkey. Several participants filed a petition of complaint after the tournament and this news spread rapidly in the chess media. Yazici has stated that Surov was rejected because he “is not a journalist”. The rejection notice was sent to Surov while he was in Russia but decided to travel to Turkey and sort out the issues at the venue. When he got to the accreditation desk, he was rebuffed. He gave a live account of this on his website.
In today’s General Assembly meeting, Yazici addressed this issue and stated that those seeking accreditation at FIDE events should be professionals journalists. He gave some rationale that many are able to create websites and write stories, but that does not qualify one as a journalist. He is proposing that all accredited journalists register with FIDE.
Below is a statement released by the Mr. Yazici:
We have received both appreciation and expressed concern regarding an individual who is not accredited as journalist or as a guest to the Olympiad venue.
First, the mentioned person is not a journalist. Second, we do not want to turn a blind eye, even to those present as guests, who attempt to improperly influence the organizers. These actions are unprofessional and will not be tolerated.
I ask to those parties who have expressed concern on this matter and published open letters to think about the rights of the organizer. We do not wish to pursue legal actions against this individual, wasting precious monetary resources that would otherwise benefit chess at many levels.
Additionally, we do not wish to engage with parties that have handled matters in an unprofessional manner. Finally, we do not have the option of making a claim to the FIDE Ethics Commission on this matter, as there is not a clear procedure which addresses journalists and media in chess.
In light of the aforementioned information, we give our full support to the FIDE President’s proposal to establish a commission and clear procedures for accreditation of chess journalists. This proposal will be discussed on the 83rd FIDE Congress and General Assembly.
Ali Nihat YAZICI
Head of Organising Committee of the 40th Chess Olympiad