The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is set to travel to Istanbul tomorrow for its Science and Investigations Symposium as the organisation looks to aid Turkey's commitment to the worldwide protection of clean athletes.
The main topics of discussion will include recent developments in investigations on drugs circulating illegally; identification of new drugs with doping potential; strengthening communication and data sharing in the field; and the development of new tools and strategies in combating the fight against doping in sport.
The symposium comes after a tough year for the Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC) in terms of doping.
Last summer more than 30 Turkish athletes tested positive for doping, including London 2012 1500 metres champion Aslı Çakır Alptekin and two-time European champion Nevin Yanıt, leading to the resignation of Turkish Athletics Federation President Mehmet Terzi, who was replaced by Fatih Çintimar.
In June, 2013, eight Turkish athletes, including 2004 Olympic hammer silver medalist Eşref Apak, were caught doping, and dozens reportedly failed tests ahead of the Mediterranean Games.
In August, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced a two-year ban for nine Turkish athletes, including two teenagers, who tested positive for anabolic steroids.
Despite the difficulties, President of the Turkish Olympic Committee, Professor Uğur Erdener, who sits on both the Executive Committee and Foundation Board at WADA, is looking forward to the symposium and hoped to work to strengthen the nation's resistance on doping.
"I welcome all of my colleagues from the anti-doping movement to Istanbul for what I am sure will be a fascinating and fruitful discussion," he said.
"The Turkish Olympic Committee, the Turkish Minister for Youth and Sports Mr Akif Çağatay Kılıç, the Turkish government and Turkish sports authorities have a zero-tolerance policy on doping and hold the integrity of sport as absolutely paramount.
"Our focus has always been rigorous testing programmes and education – but during this symposium I look forward to discussing the different strategies that we can use to strengthen our resistance on doping and together combat this globally damaging issue."
The revised World Anti-Doping Code will be launched on January 1, 2015, marking a new era for WADA as it looks to emphasise intelligence gathering and analysis, smarter testing, and athlete support in the global fight on doping.
Representatives from INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will attend the Symposium, due to last until Wednesday (October 29).
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