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Turkish Taekwondo Champion Hopes to Fight for Palestine in Rio Olympics

Bahri Tanrikulu hopes 'wild card' will allow him to participate in this year's competition. 'I did not want to stay insensitive to what is going on in Palestine. I want to be supportive of them.'

A Turkish taekwondo athlete is hoping to represent Palestine in the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games if he can get a "wild card" from the games' organizers, the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported.
Bahri Tanrikulu, a former world champion and 2004 Olympics silver medalist, competed for Palestine in the 2012 London Olympics.
Taekwondo rules allow an athlete to play for any international team if he hasn't represented his own national team in the past three years.
"I have not participated in any international competition for Turkey since competing for Palestine in 2012," Tanrikulu said.
"I did not want to stay insensitive to what is going on in Palestine. I want to be supportive of them," he said.
"Our president and prime minister knew about my situation, they declared their full support for me when I told them about my decision," he added.
Tanrikulu won a bronze medal in the Asian qualification rounds of the Rio Olympics, in which he represented Palestine. According to the rules, however, he needed silver or gold in order to qualify.
But the Turkish athlete has not yet given up and is now pinning his hopes on a “wild card”.
"I won Palestine's first bronze medal in taekwondo. The International Olympic Committee is planning to give Palestine a wild card berth," he said.
If the committee decides to give Palestine a wild card, then "I'll be in the Olympics again at the age of 36. I would like to set a model for Turkish and Palestinian athletes," he added.

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/turkey/1.723319
Schermata 2016 06 06 alle 10.27.27

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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