Snooker Heads To New Territory With Turkish Masters
The World Snooker Tour will stage an event in Turkey for the first time next season when the Turkish Masters takes place in the beautiful city of Antalya.
The provisional dates of the tournament are September 27 to October 3 and WST will closely monitor all guidelines on travel and Covid safety, working with governments in the UK and overseas.
The world ranking event will see 64 players heading to Turkey to compete for total prize money of £500,000.
Antalya is renowned as one of Europe’s outstanding destinations, known for its culture, history and ideal location on the Mediterranean coast.
WST has agreed a four-year deal with the Turkish Billiards Federation and Big Break Promotions to stage the Turkish Masters every season until at least 2024/2025. Overall prize money will increase each year.
A qualifying round will be staged in August with players needing to win one match to make it to the final stages. Two Turkish wild cards will also be handed places in the main event in Antalya. The tournament will be televised by a range of broadcasters worldwide including Eurosport and Matchroom Live.
WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are thrilled to continue snooker’s international expansion by staging a world ranking event in Turkey for the first time. Over the past decade we have made dramatic progress in becoming a truly global sport, and to enter a brand new territory is a further step on that journey.
“We have tracked the growth in interest in snooker in Turkey in terms of television viewing figures and digital audience. This new event will provide a focal point for our sport in the region and it will help us to develop our strategy of building foundations across Europe.
“We are particularly excited to stage this event in Antalya because of the status of the city as an outstanding tourism destination. We have no doubt that the world’s leading players will be delighted with the chance to visit this stunning location while competing for a prestigious title and significant prize money, particularly given the challenges they have faced over the past year.
“We look forward to working with our new partners in Turkey on this fantastic project. To stage a major sporting event in Antalya will help develop the profile of the city.”
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Congratulations to Ersan Ercan, President of the Turkish Billiard Federation, his hard working team, and local promoter Tuğba İrten for everything they have done to bring the Turkish Masters to the forefront of snooker’s global calendar. We have no doubt it will become one of the most popular events and destinations on our circuit.”
Ersan Ercan, President of the Turkish Billiard Federation, added: “I would like to say a sincere thank you to WST for giving us the opportunity to welcome snooker to Turkey for the first time in our history.
“We are very excited and work has already begun to make this event one of the best on the calendar. I can assure those who attend of one thing, and that is they will fall in love with Antalya.”
Antalya is a marvellous place with a rich Greek, Roman and even Persian history. Tradional cuisine should be excellent as well… for those who know better than burgers and kebabs. Expect hot weather at that time of the year though…
I’m a bit surprised at Turkey interest in snooker. Their “traditional” game is 3-cushions billiards, a discipline they excel at. Turkey has produced top 3-cushions billiards players over the years, but none more famous than the great Semih Sayginer, the Turkish Prince.
For those of you who know nothing about 3-cushions here it is in short: there are three balls on the table: a white, a red, a yellow. One of the players plays with the white, the other one with the yellow. the goal is to score points. To score a point, the player at the table has to hit the red and his opponent’s ball, in any order, but before they hir the second ball they need to have hit at leat three cushions. The player stays at the table as long as they score. It’s simple… not!
Here is a short video featuring two of the best exponents of that discipline: Semih Sayginer and Torbjorn Blomdahl
What annoys me with this event is that Turkey is not a great country when it comes to respecting human rights. They have very recently withdrawn from the Istanbul convention , basically making domestic violence against women and girls legal. They also have a history of violence towards ethnic or religious minorities and even genocide, most notably against Armenians and Kurds.
More down to earth… it will be interesting to see if Ronnie will enter, given that, unless he’s drawn against a wildcard, he will likely need to qualify. And if he doesn’t, if he will give any reason for it other than not liking the qualifiers…
In general, I’m curious to see if any player with a moral compass AND politically informed will say anything.
3 thoughts on “The Snooker Tour is heading to Turkey”
It’s very difficult to say if this is good or bad for snooker. The Saudi-idea is 100% wrong. That is a clear example of sports white washing. This is a very big and current topic in any sport where money is involved, at least in Norway.
Bringing snooker to Turkey seems like the light version of the proposed Saudi tournament. It’s not as bad, but it is borderline. China is mentioned, which adds more confusion to the debate, but they are, after all, a great snooker nation.
Turkey is pretty much a dictatorship and yes, it is worrisome which directions the international leg of snooker is extending. The only problem here is that China is not a champion of human rights and democracy either, yet a recognized and apparently well-liked hub of snooker.
Of course, you are absolutely right Csilla, China is not exactly democratic nor tolerant to minorities either. It’s a difficult question actually. On one hand opening the country to more sport is also opening it to more scrutiny and that might have a positive impact on the long term. But in some cases, sports, especially those that involve considerable amount of money, can be a means to “buy” respectability or if not that, blind eyes and deaf ears… Saudi Arabia are the prime example of the this. Also, China at least has a strong snooker association and probably hundreds of thousand amateur players. There is a genuine interest in the sport. I’m not sure about Turkey, although they have a strong billiards tradition. As for Saudi Arabia… hum…
Also it’s important to dissociate the people from the politics. A few years back, I went to Athens to take pictures at a 3-cushions tournament. Greece also has a strong tradition in that sport. The field was international, but for obvious geographical reasons Greece and Turkey had the biggest “teams” . Everything went smoothly and friendly. The atmosphere was great and all matches were played in great spirit.
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