Turkey’s leading chess organization is suing a local televangelist who publicly claimed that playing chess is more sinful than gambling.
On Monday, Turkish media reported that religious figure Amet Mahmut Ünlü (pictured) aka Cübbeli Ahmet Hoca had released a video informing his many followers that “playing chess is worse than gambling and eating pork.” Ünlü also accused chess players of being “more prone to lying than others” and being “cursed,” while imploring his followers to “count your prayer beads instead of playing games like this.”
Cursed or not, the Turkish Chess Federation (TSF) announced that same day that it had launched legal proceedings against Ünlü. The TSF issued a statement saying Ünlü’s remarks “are unacceptable and have drawn a reaction from our community.”
The TSF went on to say that its legal action against Ünlü was necessary to defend the integrity of the over 700 licensed chess ‘athletes’ who have “achieved many successes in recent years, from the Olympics to the European and World Championships.”
The TSF also said it was working to ensure that “all the beauties of chess sports will be exhibited again in a safe and peaceful environment by taking every necessary precautions while considering our mosques.”
Ünlü’s comments have also prompted scorn from some Turkish newspaper columnists, who have suggested Ünlü is a frustrated chess novice who’s simply tired of getting his ass handed to him by more knowledgeable players.
To be fair to Ünlü, he’s not always been such a prude. Last summer, Ünlü made headlines when he pushed back against another religious figure’s claims that “advanced oral sex” was forbidden under Islamic law, even when practiced by married couples. Ünlü warned his religious colleague not to “invent a lie on behalf of Allah.”
SYNOT EXPANDS GEORGIAN PRESENCE
Turkey takes a particularly dim view of gambling, having banned casinos way back in 1998, leading many Turkish gamblers to seek out casinos in neighboring Georgia. Those gaming options recently grew when Czech gaming operator Synot Group opened its second Georgian casino in the capital Tbilisi the week before Christmas.
Synot sales director Roland Andrysek said the new Tbilisi property was “a truly great establishment” with over 200 gaming machines. Synot opened its first Georgian casino in Kutaisi in May 2016 and Andrysek said Synot hoped to further expand in Tbilisi and other Georgian cities. Synot’s expansion plans aren’t limited to Europe, as the company opened its second Vietnamese gaming hall in November.