Azeris Force Turkey to Remove Armenian Chess Player from Tournament

Armenia's National Women's Chess champion Maria Gevorgyan
Armenia's National Women's Chess champion Maria Gevorgyan

Armenia’s National Women’s Chess champion Maria Gevorgyan

International Chess Federation—FIDE—has launched an investigation

Turkish organizers of the an international chess tournament in Sivas (Sepastia), Turkey have withdrawn an invitation to Armenian chess champion Maria Gevorgyan at the behest of the Azerbaijani delegation, which reportedly threatened to boycott the event if there was going to be an Armenian in the tournament, the BBC reported.

Furthermore, Gevorgyan, who is a three-time women’s chess champion of Armenia, was threatened with a lawsuit by the Turkish organizers after she took to social media to announce her removal from the tournament and express outrage at the situation.

The International Chess Federation (FIDE), under whose auspices the Sivas Buruciye Chess Open 2019 international chess tournament is being held, has launched an investigation.

“FIDE is acting,” said international chess body’s representative Emil Sutovsky in response to a complaint filed by the Armenian’s Chess Federation. “We already started the investigation. It will be quick. And the punishment for those found guilty will be serious,” reported news.am.

Gevorgyan, who is a FIDE world champion, said that she had a busy summer of tournaments around the world, prompting her to decide to skip the Sivas tournament, until she received an official invitation from organizers on August 7.

After she agreed to attend, an organizer, Mustafa Eroglu, contacted her to withdraw the invitation, explaining that Azerbaijani chess players had asserted that if there were an Armenian in the tournament, they would refuse to participate.

“In every country, wherever I speak, I always respected all opponents, regardless of their nationality or political views,” Gevorgyan wrote on her Facebook page, saying that rescinding her invitation because of her nationality was considered extremely offensive.

Her Facebook post prompted Ergolu to threaten Gevorgyan with a lawsuit, claiming that she violated the confidentiality of her correspondence, which she had also posted on the social media site. She said her Facebook post aimed “to raise the issue so that everyone knows there is racism in sports as well.”

Gevorgyan explained to news.am that the organizers had told her that they would make travel accommodations for her. They later informed her that the airline tickets were expensive prompting her to inform them that she would cancel her participation. However, the organizers insisted that she take part in the tournament. Hours later, Gevorgyan explained, Eroglu informed her about the Azerbaijani ultimatum, upon which she withdrew from the tournament.

“Mustafa’s message made it clear that the organizers are declining Armenia’s participation and won’t cover my expenses. The Armenian Chess Federation got involved and sent a letter to FIDE to explore the matter,” Gevorgyan told news.am.

“FIDE requested that the organizer of the tournament present the petition of the Azerbaijani athletes regarding the Armenian chess player’s participation. I contacted Mustafa Eroglu, but he didn’t submit any document,” explained Gevorgyan in the interview with news.am.

Gevorgyan believes that there was never an official letter submitted by Azerbaijan, but rather a discussion between the Turkish and Azerbaijani parties that resulted in her invitation being rescinded. She said that the Armenian Foreign Ministry had already contacted her.

“Chess has always brought people together. People from different nations have played together. I have always respected each opponent, without attaching importance to the opponent’s nationality. The fact that there is such discrimination in sports and that there is such an action against me is very painful. I don’t know why this happened. In any case, I think this issue should be in the spotlight,” Gevorgyan told news.am last week.

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12 Comments

  1. GB said:

    Seems to me fake Axeri dictator resharpening Hungarian made axes for Armenians with the help of “Major” Ramil Safarov! I wonder why oilman does not send him to Artsakhi front line, in order to boost the morale of his demoralized defeated army!

  2. Raffi said:

    HaHaHaHa, Azerbaijan is trying to stop an elephant by pulling from his tail.

  3. joe said:

    Can we expect anything less from Turks? In reality this behavior is out of weakness. Armenia proper’s mission however should be to shed as much light and publicize this blatant racism by Turkey and Azerbaijan. UNITE as ONE ARMENIA, ARTSAKH and Diaspora. Its the only answer. Keep an eye on western Armenian currently occupied. Our collective goal should be to liberate those lands as well. NOTHING LESS..The AG continues today.

  4. Sero said:

    So here the question is who needs who Azerbaijan needs turkey or vice versa cause they dictate

  5. Edward Minaei said:

    The typical Azeri-Turkish low end behaviors that not only defies their lack of progressive thinking and disregard for history, but also their disregard for international standards in sports as well as politics.
    It’s a continuation of their on slut on Armenians since the Hamidian massecar of 1896 and the genocide of 1918.
    How long and how far will these two countries will be willing to exert their hateful agendas on a small country their predecessors have left of that once stretched from Caspean sea to the middle of Anatolia?
    And theor activities are being ignored by international communities.

  6. Edward Minaei said:

    Where are our allies and countries which love us and countries which recognized the Genocide? Where are they to condemn Turkey and Azerbaijan for their wicked behavior? How about Iran, Greece, Levont, France, Germany, Poland, Serbia, and more? Many of them are in this tournament and yet they should come to our rescue just as Turks did a favor to the Azeri cause. This is dark and depressing. Not saying every country, but maybe the clossesed kin ones. Is there any business and political disadvantage to doing the right thing? Of course….

    • GB said:

      Edward we are our own allies, unity is our strength! Turks can do whatever they want, but history and the the reality of Armenian sad history will be our side forever!

  7. Norin said:

    Maybe this should be a wake up call to the Armenian psyche not to look at the world like a naive lamb. Certainly Azeris/Turks are not looking at things naively. This young lady may be a chess champ, but from an ethnocentrism point of view she is a rank a amateur. Why are all of you surprised that our geopolitical enemy will stop conspiring against us and not become benevolent all of a sudden? The root of this Armenian behavior is the rampant odaramolutyoon that needs to be stamped out of the Armenian mind and replaced with a bit of ethnocentrism, nationalism, and ethnic self worth.

  8. HERAYER said:

    I SAY THE WORLD SHOULD NOTICE THIS IS OUTRIGHT TURKISH RACISM MAYBE THEY ARE AFRAID THAT ARMENIA WILL WIN AGAINST THEM !!!!!!! TERRIBLE WAY TO THINK AND BEHAVE IN THIS DAY AND AGE!!!!

  9. Hayk Mkrtchyan said:

    By rejecting Maria Gevorgyan, Turkey and Azerbaijan have accepting their defeat.

  10. Jack Kapterian said:

    I believe they are embarrassed that they will lose to a small nation like Armenia. They wouldn’t know fair competition if it hits them in the face. Both are useless nations. They offer nothing to the world. Who needs to go to Turkey anyway. Keep your chin up Maria. You will have many other opportunities in other countries to beat these morons.

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