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FIA to investigate Turkey podium controversy

NEWS STORY
29/08/2006

In a statement issued this morning (Tuesday), the FIA announced that:

The FIA has launched a full investigation into the circumstances in which Mr Mehmet Ali Talat was invited to present the winner's trophy at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix.

Political neutrality is fundamental to the FIA's role as the governing body of international motor sport. No compromise or violation of this neutrality is acceptable.

The results of the investigation will be presented to the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

The investigation refers to the fact that Mehmet Ali Talat, who presented the the trophy to race winner Felipe Massa, was introduced as president of the Turkish Cypriot "state" - which is in fact only recognised by Turkey.

Speaking to reporters following the race, Cyprus government spokesman Christodoulos Pashardis, said: "The Cypriot government will denounce this unacceptable and provocative piece of theatre. "Mr Talat is neither a citizen nor an official of Turkey, the organising country, to be invited to present the Formula One winner's trophy."

Mr Pashardis then confirmed that the Cypriot Automobile Association would lodge a formal complaint.

Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the north of the island following a Greek-inspired coup.

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