Yazici: 'Law is just and justice prevails'

by ChessBase
4/28/2009 – A year and a half ago the President of the Turkish Chess Federation, Ali Nihat Yazici, invited Boris Kutin, the President of the European Chess Union to resign. The reason: the ECU was preventing Turkey from staging three major European Chess events. The matter went to arbitration, and now the court in Lausanne has decided in favour of the Turks – with dramatic consequences.

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Timeline of the TCF-ECU controversy

Intro: Turkey has won the case against the ECU, which was filed due to the claim that the European Chess Union was thwarting the organization of the three major European Chess events in Turkey. The judicial court in Lausanne decided that European Individual Chess Championships are cancelled and bidding procedures of all the major events to restart.

Story: According to the civil court judgment regarding the trial between the Turkish Chess Federation and the European Chess Union on April 22, 2009, the ECU Board decisions taken during the meeting held in Novi Sad on August 29, 2007. The court ruled that all of the decisions regarding the European Individual Chess Championships 2009 (for men and women), European Club Cup 2009 (men and women) and 2009 European Youth Championship in 2009, are canceled altogether. This means the results of the European Individual Championships are canceled and should be held again. The players who won the titles and gained the right to play in the World Cup lost their rights. Furthermore, the ECU will pay 6.800 CHF to the Turkish Chess Federation for compensation. Although the way to appeal is still open, if the ECU makes an appeal and the appeal is rejected than another chaos is awaiting the chess world. Before viewing the open letter of the President of the Turkish Chess Federation Ali Nihat Yazici, let us remember the chronology of the events.

The Chronology

24 August 2007 ECU Board meeting in Novi Sad, the decisions are contested by the Turkish Chess Federation
 3 October 2007 The TCF sues the ECU in the Judicial Court in Lausanne
12 October 2007 TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici publishes an open letter to announce that TCF was suing the ECU
 3 November 2007 The ECU General Assembly takes place in Heraklion/Greece
22 November 2008 ECU General Assembly held in Dresden/Germany during the FIDE Congress
30 March 2009 The last trial of the course
22 April 2009 The court in Lausenne partially ruled for TCF. The organization of the all upcoming major European events are in question as well as the European Individual Championship which was already organized is cancelled.
  Open Letter, Court Decision

Open Letter to all Chess Federations and Media

Law is just and justice prevails

By Ali Nihat Yazici, President of the Turkish Chess Federation

As is well known, from the open letter [full version in PDF] that was presented to the chess world on 12 October 2007, I invited Boris Kutin, the President of the European Chess Union (ECU) to resign. Together with the invitation, I also explained the reasons of the unfortunate obligation that TCF had to sue ECU in Lausanne, Switzerland.

I explained that from 24 August 2007 to 2 October 2007 we had tried to find a solution with the ECU but starting from the dear President, the majority of the ECU Board did not take our rights or reasons into consideration. This was not only the first time and not the last time that the ECU was violating our rights.

TCF President Ali Nihat Yazici

I also underlined that ECU lost objectivity in their decisions starting from 2006, since all the tournaments were being given to a group of countries from a specific geographical region, while ECU was behaving as if there was an unwritten convention that countries like Turkey, Greece and Georgia were not to be given any tournaments. As a leading national federation, the Turkish Chess Federation could not be silent against this double standard and therefore we opened a law suit against ECU.

After the letter had been published, on November 3, 2007, during the ECU General Assembly held in Crete, these issues were heavily debated during a long session and it was registered in the assembly that the decisions of the ECU were not in line with the bidding procedures and the rights of our Federation were not defended.

Our common friends tried to end the suit between the TCF and the ECU. The FIDE Deputy President and President of the Greek Chess Federation worked a lot to find a peaceful solution. I agreed with his views that these kind of problems should be resolved under the roof of FIDE through diplomacy, however the entirely consciously biased decisions against our Federation were not acceptable.

ECU President Boris Kutin

Mr. Kutin, continued his explicitly biased and hostile attitude during the ECU General Assembly in Dresden, 2008.

During the Is Bank Atatürk FIDE Women Grand Prix held between 5-20 March in Istanbul, Mr. Makropoulos again tried to assist as a mediator between the two parties and showed enormous effort to find a compromise. The TCF accepted to conditionally drop the case, unwillingly I must add, but respecting the motto of Gens Una Sumus. However, ECU rejected these reconciliation efforts.

Actually, the inability to administer by the ECU Board was clear after the 2007 and 2008 ECU General Assemblies. The ECU Board could not pass any of their propositions. Furthermore, during the 2007 Assembly the authority of the ECU Board, on deciding the organizers of annual events, was reduced by the GA and by 2008, except for the youth championships, all other events will be decided by the GA. This shows a de facto distrust of the ECU Board.

It is sure that law is just and justice prevails eventually. This was proven true once again.

After the last trial was held on 30 March 2009 in Lausanne, the court ruled for the TCF, with the decision taken on 22 April 2009 as their decision written in French (and our translation in English) is attached.

According to this judgement, the decisions of the ECU Board on 24 August 2007 for the three tournaments of 2009, were cancelled and became void. So those three decision given below are now void! Furthermore, it was decided that ECU should pay 6.593 CHF for legal costs to the Turkish Chess Federation as compensation. And also they will pay 3.686 CHF for the court expenses in total the amount will be 10.279 CHF.

I do not count the money we spent for the law suit, the money spent by ECU for travelling, accommodation and for lawyers in Lausanne. All those monies were spent to the detriment of the chess world due to the illegal decision of ECU and their behavior of disregarding the views of one of their members.

What were the decisions which were cancelled?

  1. 2009 European Individual Chess Championship
  2. The decision to hold 2009 European Club Cup in FYROM, Struga.
  3. The decision to hold 2009 European Youth Championship in Italy, Fermo.

What are the probable consequences?

  1. With the court decision regarding the European Individual Chess Championship, the European Individual Championships held in Montenegro and Russia for men and women respectively are both void. Any of the players that participated and qualified from those events cannot play in the World Cup (that is the opinion after consulting lawyers). Those tournaments should be held in 2009 again! ECU is responsible for all the expenses of those events spent by players and organizers. FIDE, as the body controlling the World Championship cycle, should convene quickly and decide about it. It is an absolute mess now.

  2. ECU decision to “legally” hold the European Club Cup 2009 is also cancelled. A new bid procedure should immediately start for the organization of this event. Until 2007, ECU Board was the deciding body about the incoming bids but now ECU General Assembly should convene as soon as possible with a new bidding procedure to decide for this event.

  3. The ECU Board’s decision taken on 24 August 2007 to hold European Youth Championship also cannot be hold in this country without a new decision. Since the event is being planned to be held in August, the bidding process should restart immediately and a new organizer should be determined.

This is only the beginning. The ECU President has created a real mess in the chess world, despite our and all other intermediaries’ suggestions. This issue is not about losing one or three events, but we will resume our struggle until the decisions are taken lawfully according to the procedures, since our rights were unlawfully violated.

We immediately invite all of the ECU Board starting with Mr. Boris Kutin to resign and believe that is the time to convene immediately an Extraordinary General Assembly with elections.

We are proposing following:

  • All the ECU board must resign. We know that some members of the board did their best to persuade the President but they could not change his rigid opinion. However, considering that the decision belongs to all board, we ask them all to resign.

  • Turkey is ready to organize an extraordinary ECU GA in Istanbul in order temporary to elect a new President and board members until the next ECU GA in 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk

  • The TCF is ready to do everything possible to help in the negotiation between all affected parties to find right solutions to avoid serious problems which we are facing today.

ECU Board created a real mess in the chess world after our and all the intermediaries’ suggestions. We are candidates to organize all of these three organizations under the best conditions. This issue is not about losing one or three events, but we will resume our struggle until the decisions are taken lawfully according to the procedures since our rights were unlawfully violated.

We immediately invite all of the ECU Board starting with Mr.Boris Kutin to resign and believe that is the time to convene immediately an Extraordinary General Assembly with elections.

It is the time that ECU should be administered in the right hands.

I should stress that this was never a personal issue regarding my relations with Mr. Boris Kutin. During the 2007 General Assembly, the ECU Board suggested that the President should be paid an amount of 1.500 € and the General Secretary of an amount of 750 € monthly stipend. As can be seen from the minutes of the assembly, with my proposal and the approval of the General Assembly, this amount is increased to 3.000 and 1.500 €, eventually accepted as such.

Furthermore, I never had a personal statement against the dear president; however, he tried to cooperate with the opposition during the Turkish Chess Federation elections and attempted to contact our Sports Minister, which was left unreplied by our Minister. Could you believe that a continental president is trying to contact a national government bypassing the the national federation and trying to influence the elections of the national chess federation by cooperating with the opposition?

It is time to stop this bad situation. European chess needs a much better leader than this person.

This board, which could not manage to find any sponsor, not achieved any corporate success so far in great and important continent like Europe could only organize events thanks to the FIDE’s granted rights that enabled them to raise money by entrance fees, which is paid to the President and the General Secretary.

I invite the honorable friends of mine in the ECU Board to resign. Let us resign and convent the General Assembly.

Gens Una Sumus

Ali Nihat YAZICI
Turkish Chess Federation

What is next?

The Turkish Chess Federation, which is one of the most active and prosperous chess federations in the world, is continuing to organize important international tournaments. Currently there are two important youth events in the agenda:

  • The World Under 16 Chess Olympiad in Akhisar, Manisa in the beginning of August
  • The World Youth Chess Championship in Dünya Yas Gruplari 12 – 24 Kasim 2009 Antalya

Ali Nihat Yazici vs. Boris Kutin: A bitter rivalry in chess politics

This not the first time that the President of the Turkish Chess Federation and the Vice President of FIDE Ali Nihat Yazici and President of the European Chess Union Boris Kutin are struggling against each other.

  • During the FIDE Congress held in Antalya in 2009, for 2009 World Youth Chess Championship, Kutin supported Montenegro’s bid against Turkey’s. Turkey got the organization with 20 votes against 15.

  • During the FIDE Congress in Dresden another milestone in this rivalry was the election of the bids regarding the candidacy for 2012 Chess Olympiad. On November 24, 2008 Turkey won the voting with 95 votes for Istanbul’s candidacy against 40 votes of Herceg Novi.

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