The Current Situation in Turkey

This communication contains important information about the race finish of TCRNo4.  Please read all of this document carefully.  If you have any questions or concerns please email race@transcontinental.cc.  Translations of this document are being prepared.

Following news of the recent coup attempt in Turkey this weekend Transcontinental have been following the situation closely and currently understand the following.

Political Stability

We understand that the recent coup attempt failed and stability has been restored quickly to the country.  While we understand that there will be further political implications on the countries foreign and internal affairs we do not expect further instability at a government level.  There is the residual risk of civil unrest and the security environment is described as potentially volatile.  No security operations are known to affect the areas between the border with Greece and Çanakkale.  Transcontinental continues to monitor the situation.

Terrorism / Security

Recent attacks on the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul mean that the threat from Terrorism remains high as it does generally with many other locations across Europe.  These events are understood to be independent of the coup attempt which is not known to affect the risk level.  Foreign office advice is to be vigilant in tourist areas.  Transcontinental continues to monitor the situation.

As an organisation we would also like to give some information on Transcontinental’s position on the following:

Political

Transcontinental routinely crosses through countries with turbulent histories and where local tensions can still be high.  Transcontinental’s official position is that we are a sporting event and remain apolitical.  As an organisation we do not endorse any political organisations or governments.  We definitely do not support or endorse any authoritarian regimes.  Our interests in Turkey are purely geographically, culturally and community led.  In the 2013 and 2015 races we received support from the Turkish Tourism office with support from the Ministry for Tourism.  In 2016 for the 4th edition of the race we took the decision not to request any support in order to be independent from any state sponsored offices.

Community

Transcontinental has ended in Turkey now for 3 editions.  During this time we have been seeking to develop a relationship with the cycling community within Istanbul and the wider region to raise the visibility of the race within the Turkish cycling community and to contribute to encouraging endurance cycling in Turkey.  By the 3rd edition in 2015 the cycling community in Istanbul had really engaged with the event, embracing it with lots of support and excitement.  The result was that 12 riders signed up for 2016 (from Zero in 2015) and the community pledged is support for the race.  Due to increased difficulty in finding a safe route into Istanbul after new construction projects started in the North, Transcontinental decided to move the race finish out of Istanbul.  However in light of our flourishing relationship with the cycling community and the support we have received we wanted to chose a location in Turkey to continue and build on this relationship.  Part of Transcontinental’s format however is moving control locations from year to year and it was expected that in any case 2016 would likely be the last year of a finish in Turkey for now at least.

 

What this means for Race No.4

At the current time Transcontinental has mature plans in place for the finish in Çanakkale.  Abandoning these plans would cause significant disruption to Transcontinental’s ability to provide a satisfactory event.  At this time we do not plan to move the finish line of the event.  

However we take the safety of riders very seriously so this is dependent on the following provisions between now and the race:

  1. The return to ‘life as normal’ in Western Turkey continues without significant civil unrest.
  2. Ongoing security operations come towards an end.
  3. No further significant terrorism incidents in Western Turkey.
  4. Borders remain open.
  5. UK Foreign office advice does not change.
  6. Race production remains practical.

However recent events have shown how quickly situations can develop so as a first step we are asking riders now to prepare a route from CP4 to an alternative finish line in the event that the provisions above are not met, or that new situations arise that affect rider safety.

Note that we are NOT implementing this alternative at the current time.  Riders will be advised if and when this occurs.  We are simply giving riders as much time to prepare for it in the event that the change is necessary.

This finish point has been selected to be the closest city in Greece to Çanakkale which provides an appropriate finishing point.  The parcours has been chosen to compensate the reduced mileage with additional climbing and provide a remote and interesting route to the finish which does not necessarily favour one overall route choice from CP4.

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[Alternative Finish Point]

Finish Point: Lighthouse of Alexandroupoli // 40.843575, 25.875073

Parcours Start: Roussa // 41.300323, 26.018348

Note that the start of the parcours may be passive (no staff will be present) and the parcours is open - meaning that locally no roads are specified.

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Riders are reminded that this point is not currently included in the race.  Riders should plan to finish in Çanakkale as normal unless otherwise instructed.

Transcontinental will continue to monitor the situation and will review this status.

Riders are reminded that attendance at the rider briefing is mandatory for all riders.  Brevet cards will be collected only after the briefing.  No Briefing, No Brevet, No Ride.

Many thanks for your attention.

Mike Hall

Race Director