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    ’Israel’s withdrawal not an issue of security’

    Hürriyet Daily News
    09.07.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - Israel’s withdrawal from the Efes Pilsen World Cup was not based on security issues, the Turkish Basketball Federation said Wednesday.

    The Basketball Federation released a statement yesterday responding to the speculations about the eighth edition of the Efes Pilsen World Cup, a preparatory tournament before the European Championship. Israel was first declared a participant in the tournament on December, but later was announced to have withdrawn from the competition in January.

    The statement underlined fans’ reaction toward Israeli players during the Euro Cup game between Türk Telekom and Hasharon on Jan. 6. Turkish supporters threw objects and chanted slogans protesting Israel’s attacks in Gaza.

    "Hasharon refused to play even after the fans were taken off the court," read the statement. "In order to avoid a repeat of such situation that would harm amicable relations between two federations, there was a mutual agreement that Israel and Turkey should play exhibition games instead of playing at the Efes Pilsen World Cup."

    Two teams are set to play in a friendly tournament in London on Aug. 14, the statement added.

    Efes Pilsen World Cup tournament will be held Aug. 26 to 30 in Ankara.
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