The Turkish Athletics Federation today banned Nevin Yanit, the former European 100m hurdles champion, for two years for a doping violation as the organisation continues its clean-up process in the wake of drugs scandals in the sport in the country.
The TAF said Yanit, who won the European hurdles title at both the 2010 and 2012 competitions, tested positive for a banned substances during a meet in Dusseldorf, Germany on February 8.
She was charged with the doping violation in May, along with Asli Cakir Alptekin, the winner of the women’s 1,500 metres at the 2012 Olympics. Alptekin's case is still being assessed, but she faces a lifetime ban having already served a two-year suspension for doping in 2004.
The TAF said in a statement today: "After her B sample also tested positive, the disciplinary board asked for Yanit's defense and decided to ban the athlete for two years following deliberations."
Ugur Erdener, president of the Turkish Olympic Committee, claimed today's sanction on Yanit "demonstrates that the new, more aggressive anti-doping policies being implemented by our national federations and the Turkish Anti-Doping Agency, actively supported by the NOC and the Turkish government, are rooting out drugs in Turkish sport."
He said: "While any evidence of cheating is a major disappointment for any country, the Turkish NOC nevertheless welcomes the action taken by the Turkish Athletics Federation today. The top-down approach is sending a clear message to cheats and would-be cheats in Turkey: you have nowhere left to hide. Turkey’s rigorous programme of testing and sanctions will be intensified further when the WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory opens in Ankara later this year.
"Turkish sport is also redoubling its efforts in the bottom-up approach, putting a greater emphasis on education in schools, colleges and youth clubs nationwide. Our focus is on teaching young athletes, parents and coaches the dangers of doping, and making them better equipped than ever, through proper training and nutrition, to succeed the right way."
Erdener continued: "Our more aggressive approach will continue – and it may yet yield more positive tests and more sanctions. Our anti-doping programme is under the full glare of the global media spotlight and we welcome that. If we achieve our goal of more clean Turkish athletes winning more medals in more sports in the years to come, then our tough action today will have been worth it."
The Turkish NOC has been keen to show International Olympic Committee members that, with Istanbul hoping to be awarded the 2020 Olympic Games ahead of Madrid and Tokyo on September 7, action is being taken and that no stone will be left unturned in the fight to eradicate doping in the country.
Earlier this month, the TAF imposed two-year bans on 31 track and field athletes found guilty of doping violations just days after Mehmet Terzi resigned as head of the federation, a position he had held for nine years.
The group of 31 included three athletes who competed at London 2012, including hammer thrower Esref Apak, a silver medallist at the Athens 2004 Olympics.
The bans followed a wave of drugs tests conducted on Turkish athletes before and during the Mediterranean Games held on home soil in Mersin in June and the recent decision of the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, to ban nine athletes, six of them women, including two teenagers, for two years each for taking anabolic steroids.