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Despite security concerns in the region, Thunder still traveling to Turkey for preseason games

Sep 30, 2013, 10:07 AM EDT

istanbul Getty Images

On Sept. 6, the United States State Department issued a travel advisory for Turkey due potential unrest in the region. The warning is for the southeast part of the country in particular, which borders Syria (if I need to tell you about the issues there you need to read more than the sports section).

Istanbul is in the northwest part of Turkey and the travel advisory does not directly impact that area — so the Thunder are still going there on Wednesday.

Oklahoma City is one of the teams scheduled to promote the NBA overseas this preseason and their first game is this Saturday in Istanbul (from there they go on to Manchester, England, which is only dangerous if you wear a City jersey to a United pub).

And they are still going, reports Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman.

Concerns over the safety of players, coaches and team and league personnel raised questions recently about whether the first leg of the Thunder’s two-game European tour would be canceled. But the Thunder is scheduled to depart for Istanbul on Wednesday, with the team left to trust that the NBA-mandated trip will be as secure as any other road game…

Tim Frank, the NBA’s senior vice president for basketball communications, could not offer clarity on what measures would be taken to keep the Thunder organization safe. Citing league policy, Frank said the NBA does not comment on security procedures.

“Obviously we are aware of the situation in Syria and are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our teams and staff,” Frank said.

Over the weekend the Thunder players were briefed on the security and security concerns, according to the report. It apparently was a pretty standard briefing with players just getting an update on what you should do when traveling overseas.

Kevin Durant has some name recognition in Turkey — he was the MVP of the 2010 World Championships in Istanbul, where Team USA won gold (Russell Westbrook was on that team as well).

The league and the Thunder wouldn’t do anything to put the players in danger, so it must be safe, but my guess is the players don’t quite go out and hit the town like this is New York.

  1. 12444uggg - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Bad idea.

    • spree8 - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      actually its not. Im from in Turkey. the southeast region and istanbul are like two different countries. even if hell broke lose in SE people would be out clubbing in istanbul. my country sucks balls though i give you that

      • 12444uggg - Oct 3, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Thanks for the upshot. My country is sucking pretty hard these days also, so don’t sweat it

  2. coloneltom1 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    A travel advisory for Turkey should be permanent, Don’t be fooled into believing that it is safe there. The Islamic government and their corrupt police force are quite capable of attacking tourists as well as their own people if they decide to. Read “Run toward the blazing sun” and “Midnight express”

  3. pshango - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Nice City / United (Scum) reference there Kurt

  4. antistratfordian - Sep 30, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    The U.S. Air Force has a base not very far from the Syrian border that has dependents on it who are going to elementary school and high school and soccer practice, with moms going to bingo at the club, etc. There shouldn’t be any issues with the Thunder in Instanbul.

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