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Lawmaker: Russian sports clubs should play away games in Turkey, if security guaranteed

December 15, 2015, 18:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sport is beyond politics, it will be wrong if we don't send our athletes there under the guaranteed security, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs says

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© AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Russian professional clubs should travel to Turkey for their scheduled away matches in case proper security measures guaranteed, a Russian lawmaker from the parliament’s lower house told TASS on Tuesday.

"They should go if organizers provide the necessary security measures at the competitions," Dmitry Svishchev, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, said in an interview with TASS.

"It is not all that terrible," he said. "We say that sport is beyond politics. It will be wrong if we don't send our athletes there under the guaranteed security."

Two European League’s volleyball fixtures involving Russian clubs were scheduled to take place in early December in Turkey — between Belogorye Belgorod and Arkas Izmir on December 1, and between Dinamo Moscow and Ziraat Ankara on December 2. The Russian clubs skipped both of the scheduled away matches citing security reasons and were eventually handed technical defeats.

Russia-Turkey tensions

Relations between Russia and Turkey were strained after an F-16 fighter jet from the Turkish Air Force shot down on November 24 a Russian Su-24M bomber, which was on anti-terrorism mission over Syria. Ankara claims the Su-24M bomber violated the Turkish air space in the area of the border with Syria, while Moscow maintains that the Su-24M plane stayed exclusively over the Syrian territory.

Following the incident the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Tourism advised Russian nationals against travelling to Turkey over security concerns. Furthermore, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Russia’s decision to scrap visa-free regime with Turkey starting in 2016.

On top of all, the Russian Football Union (RFU) recommended the country’s football clubs against holding winter-time training sessions in Turkey. Similar recommendation was voiced by the Russian Ministry of Sports.

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