05/06/2005 | Writer: KAOS GL

A gay singer has made a controversial bid to host the national tournament of one of Turkey's oldest and most macho sports - male oil-wrestling, the national press reported.

Fatih Urek, an openly gay singer who often appears on television and in the trendy bars of Istanbul, announced his intention to be a candidate for the host or "Aga" of the oil wrestling tournament held every summer at Kirkpinar in the Edirne Province, in the northwest of the country.

The highest bidder in an auction is designated the "Aga," a prestigious position in Turkey's Muslim circles.

"I still haven't made a final decision but if anybody can run, then I can also be Aga, it's simple," Urek told the newspaper Hurriyet.

However former "Agas" and even deputies have strongly criticized the possibility of Urek becoming the host for the event, which legend dates back to the 14th century and a wrestling match to the death between two soldiers who were brothers. "We cannot accept that these wrestling matches will be stained by this incident," said ruling Justice and Development party deputy Necdet Budak. The deputy claimed he "respected all lifestyles" but said a gay Aga had no place in Kirkpinar.

The wrestling matches are a national and international attraction with the wrestlers or "Pahlivan," meaning brave warrior in Persian, wearing only leather shorts and covering themselves in olive oil which is designed to make balance more important than brute force to win the contest.

A delegation from the gay community in Turkey was going to attend the tournament, which is attended by the Turkish president, but they decided to cancel the visit.

Original Link: Agence France Presse

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