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The FIA is incensed after a game of political subterfuge played out on the podium last Sunday at the Turkish Grand Prix in Instanbul. Felipe Massa, the winner of the race, was presented his trophy by Mehmet Ali Talat, introduced by announcers as the President of the Northern Turkish Republic of Cyprus. Problem is, no such country exists except in the eyes of Turkey. The geographic area to which the the man's title refers is a part of Cyprus, the Mediterranean island nation over which Greece and Turkey have been fighting for decades.

Murat Yalicintas, head of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, admits that his organization delayed telling the FIA who the podium presenter would be in order to sneak their guy on the stand. For their efforts, the FIA is considering dropping the Turkish GP from next year's schedule, as well as canceling Turkey's round of the World Rally Championship. Lesson learned: it doesn't pay to mess with the FIA.

Thanks for the tip, Noah!

[Source: Planet-F1]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Although I like the Istanbul circuit (especially the four-apex turn 8), if the FIA is mulling the idea of taking it off the 2007 Calendar, place Suzuka back on the calendar in its place.

      ..Then remove that suck-ass Fuji circuit for 2008.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Well maybe next time they do a Grand Prix in London I will see if they can get the President of the Peoples Republic of Tooting to present the trophy.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I agree with James; the Istanbul Autodrom has quickly become my favorite venue.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Well, that was incredibly stupid (on the part of the Turkish organizers).
      • 9 Years Ago
      F1 should also take note of the four terrorist bombs which went off in resort areas of Turkey the same day as the race. Certainly there must be tremendous security surroudning the traveling F1 circus (even the American FBI shows up in force at PGA golf events), and any terrorist nut worth his or her salt must have already recognized F1 events as covered by worldwide TV and a potential platform for an attack.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It'd be a damned shame if the Turkish GP were dropped... if nothing else it's an awesome circuit.
      • 9 Years Ago
      In the '60s the Greek majority on Cyprus began making constitutional changes that a) the Turkish minority saw as relegating them to second-class citizen status and b) made a Greece-Cyprus unification more likely.

      Local violence ensued, and in 1974 Turkey invaded "to protect" its own. They took about a third of the island, the Greeks there were displaced to the south of the island, and in turn the Turks on the rest of the island were displaced to north Cyprus. Then Turkey started bringing Turks to their part of Cyprus, to alter the population's make up (a war crime by UN laws, I think). Recently (and to their favor, publically), the Turkish Cyprots have been a lot more willing to talk peace and unification, but the Greek Cyprots feel more hard-done and have not been.

      Either way, if FIA doesn't crack down this could happen in every region with a political grievance (China could introduce some "governer of Taiwan", Barcelona could promote Catalanisme, Bahrain or Malaysia could praise Allah, Montreal could claim indepenence, etc.) But I hope they don't get a permanent ban - Turkey's arguably the best F1 track at the moment.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Ok. I could identify almost all of the suspects in this story. Turkey, Greece, Cyprus. I even knew the debate over the island. But I had no idea who FIA was. Had to look up the Federation Internationale De L'automobile.

      Some of us need help on those TLA's.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Darn right Turkey has the best track, Carlos -- that Turn 8 is spectacular! Even the great M. Schumacher has had trouble with it, and not just this year but last year too!
      But the true driver's circuit, Spa, returns next year. Man, I really missed that place this year. If I ever win Powerball, I'm building a replica of Spa on my property. Seriously.
      Too bad politics had to get in the way of Massa's first win. But really, do any of the drivers care who gives them the trophy, as long as someone gives it to them?
      • 9 Years Ago
      Another vote for the Istanbul circuit here. The race this year was fantastic. Although part of this could be because this year the drivers really seem to be finding more grip off-line. I mean, just look how exciting the Hungarian Grand Prix was (lots of passes on a circuit that is often compared to Monaco).
      • 9 Years Ago
      Where to begin...

      "the Mediterranean island nation over which Greece and Turkey have been fighting for decades"

      Cyprus is independent, and has been a member of the European Union for many years now. They're a former British Colony. I'm not a historian, but if I recall, Cyprus has never been a part of the modern state of Greece, and while the island is composed of people who are ethnically Greek and ethnically Turkish, I don't think that Greece has ever claimed it was a part of Greece, and made a claim for it. Therefore it is incorrect to say that Greece has been "fighting over it".

      A significant part of the Island (1/3) was invaded and occupied by the Turkish army in the 1970's, and they remain. The Turkish (Cypriot) part is not recognized as a seperate state by any government except Turkey, and the southern part, predominately Greek (Cypriot), is universally recognized as the legitimate independent government of Cyprus.
      • 9 Years Ago
      In all reality, who cares? It's not like they handed him the trophy and then turned around and shot everyone who didn't agree with them. They announced the guy as something he wasn't, woopty doo.