Turkish president claims Greeks burned Smyrna in 1922

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first_imgDespite his recent call for peace with Greece, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has an odd way of going about it.He kicked off his general and presidential election campaign rally on Saturday with controversy, claiming that it was Greek soldiers who were responsible for the Great Fire of Smyrna that destroyed Izmir (formerly Smyrna) in 1922 while leaving after the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).“The biggest blow given to this beautiful city is by the Greek soldiers who burned Izmir as they retreated,” Erdogan said during a speech at Izmir’s Chamber of Commerce.He attempted to support his argument by claiming that Turkish soldiers “did not want to destroy or burn – they always wanted to build and create”, proven by Izmir’s rapid development after the war.The fire took place four days after Turkish forces took control of the city on 9 September, 1922, and went on to destroy much of the port city. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Greeks and Armenians died in the fire.Erdogan is not the first to make such a claim; other conservative Turkish sources believe that it was both Greeks and Armenians who started the fire in a bid to damage the reputation of the Turks. However this is contrary to what the majority of historians say, including Niall Ferguson and Richard Clogg who concluded that it was Turkish forces who destroyed the city. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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Japan’s offload king Tim Lafaele on his wrestling inspiration

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The Japan centre is famed for slick passing but exploits in the ring have spurred him on Asked to recall his favourite offload, he quickly responds that his flick against Russia in the World Cup opener was a moment to treasure. For those who had followed Japan in the build-up, playing with such freedom as they would go on to do against European powers like Ireland and Scotland should not have been a surprise.Related: Inside the vital 24 hours before Japan v Scotland“The coaches, Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown, encourage boys to play with their own style,” he explains. “It’s good feet, they encourage the boys to have a crack all the time. And it’s in games, not just at training. Having the confidence from the coaches means heaps when you go out to express yourself.“Tony Brown, when he takes our backs and we’re doing passing drills, we’ll be doing normal passes and he’ll chuck in, ‘Nah, boys, this time all the passes have to be around the back – keep practising that.’ So everyone’s trying it and most guys have one good arm and one bad arm…!”Lafaele says he was surprised when Joseph and Brown first called him up to the Japan set-up, but he has been nurtured and encouraged since. He made his debut in 2016 and has started 22 of his 23 Tests. And while Fale has helped him set goals, he has had plenty of on-field mentors too. Tim Bateman and Andy Ellis have helped him out, while seeing Dan Carter at close quarters was also beneficial.In Europe: Playing against England in 2018 (Getty Images)Then there is the coach work of Wayne Smith at the Steelers, who Lafaele praises for his communication skills, his rapport with the athletes. 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You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. On the field of play, though, Lafaele is a willing showman. Offload king Tim Lafaele on his wrestling inspirationLike oh-so many Samoan kids, Tim Lafaele was a fan of wrestler Dwayne Johnson growing up. He could smell what The Rock was cooking.Yet the story of his early life was one punctuated by transition and rugby. Lafaele was sent to Auckland at just four to be adopted by his uncle, while his father remained in Samoa, hoping young Timothy would prosper abroad. Having missed out on the Auckland rugby academy, in his last year at De La Salle College, Lafaele would get the opportunity to move to Japan, for a four-year scholarship at Yamanashigakuin University.Today, he is settled. It has been 11 years since Lafaele, 28, left for Japan and in 2019 his offloading antics for the Brave Blossoms on an incredible 2019 Rugby World Cup sent tongues wagging. And all the way there it was rugby propelling him, the pursuit of a professional contract the initial motivator.He would move to Fukuoka to join the Coca-Cola Red Sparks out of university and then later the Kobe Kobelco Steelers, as well as featuring for the Sunwolves and of course the Japan national team.“I’d never heard of it at the time,” Lafaele says of Japanese rugby scholarships and his early experiences. “But when I got there, there were so many other guys doing it.“I didn’t know much about Japan – all I knew was the big city, the big lights. But when I went there it was a totally different part of Japan, out in the country! It was a bit of a shock at the start as I didn’t know how to speak Japanese.“The training was a lot different to New Zealand too. It was long. 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He (Fale) stayed in the area, in Fukuoka, and I met him there. We kept in contact. Then when I went over to Japan for university I contacted him.“He basically helped me, talked to me when I needed help or extra motivation. He’d tell me to keep writing my goals down and to aim for them.“When I first went over to Japan in 2010, that’s when he was a ‘young lion’ – that’s what they call them when they start going into the dojo – and he’d just started up then. He made his debut that year. Starting out he was at the bottom but it only took him like a couple years until he was at the top with the Bullet club. Seeing him do that, man it just motivated me to try to do the same with my rugby.“Seeing the struggles he went through to get to where he is now motivates most of the guys from my school when they see his story.”Inspiration: Lafaele and Tui temporarily join the Bullet Club (pic: Tim Lafaele)Shortly after the World Cup, the 6ft 5in and 130kg-plus Fale invited Lafaele and team-mate Hendrik Tui to sit ringside for an event at Wrestle Kingdom. Then closer to time, Fale asked the pair if they would like to walk the competitors out to the ring.The two rugby stars were jacked at the offer, but when they got backstage it dawned on them that they did not know the proper etiquette for such a role. Panicking, they laughed and asked each other at the curtain, “How are we going to do this?!” Ring kings: Lafaele (left) with Hendrik Tui (far right) at Wrestle Kingdom (pic: Tim Lafaele) last_img

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