Turkish ski jumper Fatih Arda Ipçioğlu was cheered on Saturday for displaying what many Uyghurs say was the flag of East Turkistan on his skis.
During a video interview on Saturday, Ipçioğlu held a pair of light blue skis with a white crescent and white star on them. It was not clear whether the athlete meant the display to be a political statement or if it was unintentional, Reuters reports.
On Sunday, İpçioğlu used another pair of skis without the crescent and the star. He refused to discuss the issue with the media. ‘I don’t want to answer those questions,’ he told the reporters.
‘I can just speak about the Turkish flag,’ he said when asked if he had featured the East Turkestan flag or the Turkish flag, which has a similar design on a red background.
“As I said, I am a sportsman. I just do my job. The other things, I don’t care about, it’s not my job. I don’t want to answer those questions”, Ipçioğlu replied to Reuters.
Many Uyghur advocates and sympathizers commented on the surprising detail on social media.
The display of any political symbol or unofficial flag is strictly against the rules of the Olympics.