The European Tour has told bunkered.co.uk that it still plans to stage the Turkish Airlines Open next month, despite escalating tensions in the country.
Last week, just two days after the United States pulled troops from the border between north-eastern Syria and Turkey, the Turkish government launched a military offensive on its neighbour.
The attack, which Turkey says is intended to push the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the border region in order to create a ‘safe zone’ in the area, has already claimed dozens of civilian casualties and caused at least 160,000 to flee the area.
That, in turn, has prompted widespread international condemnation. The Russian envoy for Syria described it “unacceptable”, whilst the US has imposed immediate sanction on Turkish ministries and senior government officials. President Donald Trump has reportedly also phoned his Turkish counterpart to demand an immediate truce.
Although a small detail in the bigger picture of the conflict, the events of the past week have thrown the Turkish Airlines Open into some doubt.
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The $7m event, the first of the European Tour’s three Final Series tournaments, is scheduled to get underway at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya on November 7. As the crow flies, Antalya is approximately 350 miles west of the border with Syria.
Responding to an inquiry from bunkered.co.uk, the European Tour said it still intends for the tournament to go ahead as scheduled.
“The safety of our players, staff and everyone involved in all our tournaments is always our number one priority,” said a spokesperson for the tour.
“We are monitoring the situation with the relevant authorities and, as things stand, the Turkish Airlines Open will be played in Antalya next month.”
The tournament has been an ever-present on the European Tour schedule since 2013. England’s Justin Rose has won the two most recent editions.