Thursday, August 28, 2008

Terrorists Attack Junior Chessers

The recent World Youth Olympiad in Turkey seemed like a world away from geopolitical trouble, yet the truth is that the event came very close to hitting world headlines for all the wrong reasons. Michael Grossman, father of one of Australia's representatives in the event, Alex Grossman, reports that the opening ceremonies was actually the target of a bombing attempt by Kurdish separatists!

Courtesy of the AusJCL:

The most unexpected aspect of our recent experience was the terrorist attempt to bomb the opening ceremonies. I'm not sure whether this was covered in the Australian media, but we were quite startled when the news emerged.

A "parade of nations" had been scheduled for the evening of August 19 in downtown Mersin. The event was cancelled right before we were scheduled to depart the hotel.

Apparently, a Kurdish separatist group had decided to detonate a bomb at the ceremony in the hope of assassinating both the local Mayor and Governor. They were planning to specifically target the Turkish delegation.

Somehow the police learned of the plot and surrounded the car carrying the explosives whereupon the driver blew himself up. The explosion was audible from the playing venue, but none of us knew at the time what the noise represented.

They never did reschedule the parade of nations!

And here is a report of that incident in the local press.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the Sochi Grand Prix tournament, where a suicide bomber in a car targeted a hotel in Sochi, just 40-100 kilometres away from the tournament venue.

Let's hope that such terrorist attacks nearby international chess tournaments do not persist...