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Ankara sent note to London over basketball team’s visa crisis, parliamentary question reveals – Türkiye News

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ANKARA

The Turkish Foreign Ministry sent a diplomatic note to the U.K. authorities late last year after some members of a Turkish basketball team ran into a visa crisis, a recent parliamentary question has revealed.

A women’s basketball team from the northwestern city of Bursa found itself embroiled in a visa debacle during the FIBA Women’s Europan Cup as it had to compete in a crucial rematch in London with only five players last December. Most of the players and the coach were unable to obtain visas as the visa application appointment took place shortly before the match, sparking controversy in Türkiye.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Deniz Demir recently submitted a parliamentary question to Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.

“Due to the visa predicament, our nation’s image has been damaged in an international tournament. Our young athletes were compelled to contend with injuries and an incomplete squad. Has the government taken any action to address the visa crisis?” he asked. 

Responding to the inquiry, Fidan elucidated that the team’s visa application was submitted belatedly, prompting them to seek assistance from the Turkish ministry to expedite the process.

Turkish officials communicated with the British Consulate General in Istanbul to accelerate the visa procedure, yet the response remained unfavorable, the answer said.

“British consular officials informed us that they had relayed our request for expedited visa processing to London for authorization, but the response was not affirmative. A diplomatic note was issued to the British Embassy in Ankara, expressing our discontent and urging measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents. Our dialogues continue to ensure similar situations are averted in the future,” Fidan stated.

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