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Turkey has 'zero tolerance' to dopers: Istanbul 2020

By Karolos Grohmann

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A new "zero tolerance" policy and a reaccredited testing laboratory will help Turkey fight doping following a string of positive cases, the head of Turkey's bid to host the 2020 Olympics said on Wednesday.

More than 30 athletes were banned by the Turkish Athletics Federation in August and Turkish official Ugur Erdener said this was the result of the country's new hardline stance and a previous lack of comprehensive testing.

"We understand there is no gain without pain," Erdener, President of Turkey's National Olympic Committee, told reporters, referring to the recent positive tests.

"Turkey now has a very aggressive anti-doping system. The lab will also be re-accredited by the World Anti-doping Agency this year. Not in the near future but in this year," said Erdener who is also a WADA executive committee member.

Turkey's double European 100m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit was banned for two years for drugs violations and Asli Cakir Alptekin, last year's women's Olympic 1,500 meters champion, was provisionally suspended in May for abnormalities in her "biological passport". She had already served a two-year doping ban.

Turkey's drugs-testing facility lost its World Anti-Doping Agency accreditation in 2011 after failing to comply to international standards. It has not been authorized to carry out testing on behalf of WADA for more than two years.

Istanbul is attempting to play down the doping issue ahead of Saturday's decision to determine the 2020 Games host.

The Turkish city is bidding for the fifth time in six votes with Madrid and Tokyo also in the running.

Turkey is not the only Olympic hopeful dealing with questions about doping.

Spain approved a new anti-doping law in June to bring it in line with international norms and dispel the impression the nation is soft on drugs issues.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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