Turkey’s Women’s Volleyball Team Inspires Pride


As the volleyball game neared its end, thousands of fans watching on giant screens in an Istanbul park rose to their feet and fell silent. The ball soared, a Turkish player set it up near the net, and her teammate spiked it. Her Italian opponents blocked the shot but knocked the ball out of bounds, handing victory to the Turks and causing the crowd to erupt into chants of “Turkey! Turkey! Turkey!”

The nail-biter victory on Friday by Turkey’s national women’s volleyball team in the Women’s European Volleyball Championship was the most recent conquest by the country’s most successful major sports team, a record that has turned it into a rare source of national pride that holds appeal across the country’s social divides.

While some ultraconservatives have attacked the women as an affront to Islamic values, their fans laud them as paragons of female empowerment in a country where many women feel they have yet to achieve social equality. And the team’s successes are a welcome bright spot for Turks struggling with sky-high inflation, political polarization and a slow recovery from devastating earthquakes in February that killed more than 50,000 people.

Affectionately referred to as “the Sultans of the Net,” the team won the Volleyball Nations League championship in July in Arlington, Texas, and became the world’s top rated women’s national team, according to FIVB, the sport’s international governing body. On Sunday, they face Serbia in the final match of the European championship in Brussels.

At home, the team’s games are aired live by the state broadcaster and its players exude star power. Legions of followers on social media celebrate their accomplishments, track their frequent hair-color changes and speculate about their romantic entanglements.

Corporate sponsorships and state support have flowed in. In 2021, when Turkey granted citizenship to the Cuban-born player Melissa Vargas, she received her new Turkish ID card from none other than President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“They are fighters,” said Ceren Duyan, a biologist at a biotech company who watched Friday’s game in the park. “When we see women do good things in sports or anywhere else, we see that we too can be powerful.”

The volleyballers’ rise comes amid an international reckoning with how female athletes are treated compared with their male counterparts. Last month, the head of the Spanish soccer federation was suspended after giving a female player an unwanted kiss on the lips. In July, the BBC apologized after one of its reporters asked the captain of the Moroccan national women’s soccer team if any of its players were gay.

Turkey’s team has largely avoided such controversies, although the players’ personal styles have linked them to some of Turkey’s deepest divisions.

While its people are predominantly Muslim, Turkey was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, its first president, as a secular state. Much of Turkish politics revolves around struggles between those who treasure the country’s secular legacy and those pressing to expand Islam’s role in public life. The latter camp includes Mr. Erdogan, Turkey’s predominant politician for two decades.

The players are clearly in the former camp.

They do not cover their hair or wear clothing that conceals their bodies, as most devout Muslim women do. Instead, they appear in the standard uniform of shorts and tank tops, and some sport tattoos. Ms. Vargas, the team’s top scorer, has recently appeared on court with her hair dyed electric blue or bleached blond, with a blue lightning bolt over her ear.

After a victory on Wednesday against Poland, one player, Zehra Gunes, told Turkish reporters that the team was advancing Ataturk’s vision for Turkey.

“As Turkish women, we try to be role models for future generations by holding a light on the path that Ataturk showed,” she said.

Another star player, Ebrar Karakurt, received floods of hateful and homophobic messages after posting photographs of herself on social media in affectionate poses with other women, and an Islamist newspaper called her “a national shame.”

In 2021, when the team was competing in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, a prominent preacher sharply criticized the team for not adhering to his conception of how a Muslim woman should behave.

“Girl of Islam! You are not the sultan of the courts; you are the sultan of faith, virtue, chastity and decency,” the preacher, Ihsan Senocak, wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

A spokesman for Turkey’s volleyball federation eventually responded to the hubbub, praising Ms. Karakurt for having the “the spirit of a fighter to represent her country.”

“Everyone’s private life concerns them only,” the spokesman said. “All the rest is hokum.”

Ms. Karakurt has recently struck back at her critics in her own way.

Last week, an X user named Abdulhamid responded to one of her posts, saying, “As the Muslim Turkish nation, we continue to put up with you.”

After Friday’s victory, Ms. Karakurt posted a photograph of herself holding a sign that read, “Cut the crap, Abdulhamid.”

The team’s successes resonate because Turkey has long seen sports as a way to assert itself globally.

“It was always the motive of Turkish sports to be successful in international encounters to prove that we are legitimate — as powerful, as successful, equals to our Western peers,” said Daghan Irak, a senior lecturer in media communication at the University of Huddersfield in Britain. “It is a very important part of our society’s psyche in terms of sports.”

Mr. Erdogan and his government may not appreciate everything about the team’s public profile, Mr. Irak said, but the president most likely appreciates their inspirational value.

“Obviously, Erdogan is more interested in the national pride this team generates than the lifestyle questions,” Mr. Irak said.

Mr. Erdogan, an avid soccer player in his younger years, has not attended any of the team’s games. But he did call Eda Erdem, the team’s captain, after its first game in the Tokyo Olympics to say he had been watching.

“You made us sentimental, you made us teary,” Mr. Erdogan said, passing his greetings “to all the girls.”

After the team won a tournament this summer, an opposition lawmaker, Gulcan Kis, filed an inquiry to the Parliament asking why Mr. Erdogan’s sports minister had not attended any games and suggested it was to avoid angering conservatives.

“Is the targeting of the national women’s volleyball team by religious scholars the reason for your absence from the final game?” Ms. Kis asked.

But the squabbles have not hurt the popularity of women’s volleyball, or the vast infrastructure supporting it. The national women’s league is hugely competitive and rich in sponsorships. And the Education Ministry runs a “Sultans of Tomorrow” program to introduce the game to girls in provincial cities.

The success of the national team has attracted a new generation of girls to the game, said Neslihan Demir, who retired from the team in 2017.

“All the little girls in Turkey want to play volleyball now since they are watching their big sisters as role models,” she said.

The players’ broad social acceptance has encouraged parents to let their daughters play, too, she said.

Ms. Demir recalled meeting a family who asked her whether their 9-year-old daughter could become a Sultan of the Net.

“Start at once,” she told them.

Safak Timur contributed reporting.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A1L

A1O

https://www.taskade.com/p/dune-part-two-2-hd-bd-2024-korean-4-k-01HQN62MKFE10B5KKWMV0NKRBB

https://www.taskade.com/p/2-dune-part-two-2024-01HQN65XMMEQ0EK0HWD33AWHKE

https://www.taskade.com/p/dune-part-two-2-hd-bd-2024-movies-01HQN795NHF19M29RZ362E2PS1

https://www.taskade.com/p/exhuma-hd-bd-2024-movies-01HQNAXWFYZW3NVE49M7SQFC3V

https://www.taskade.com/p/exhuma-2024-01HQNAZVZ51T8VSW66ZEVNYXEH

https://www.taskade.com/p/exhuma-hd-1080-p-01HQNB6ZNQK6QW9DEEP4AE6JSY

https://qzlzfs5082.expandcart.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=373

https://qzlzfs5082.expandcart.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=374

https://qzlzfs5082.expandcart.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=375

https://qzlzfs5082.expandcart.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=376

https://www.taskade.com/p/demon-slayer-to-the-hashira-training-2024-online-magyarul-indavideo-01HQQR4KTJCP2X76XVSC39FPD2

https://www.taskade.com/p/vide-a-hu-demon-slayer-to-the-hashira-training-2023-teljes-film-magyarul-videa-01HQQRBSDR33Z9TARTJ5H84JCN

https://www.taskade.com/p/demon-slayer-to-the-hashira-training-2024-online-teljes-film-adatlap-magyarul-01HQQRE55F26KY02D7BGXCS6MP

https://player.soundon.fm/p/9dba7134-a2a8-4246-96ee-d71b8eb02b6e

https://player.soundon.fm/p/04629c9f-d3ce-42f2-aa10-548180ce9338

https://www.taskade.com/p/kung-fu-panda-4-2024-film-online-subtitrat-in-romana-1080p-01HQQSTMJG9NTC792SEF6509BB

https://www.taskade.com/p/vezi-kung-fu-panda-4-film-2024-online-subtitrat-in-romana-01HQQSWN3NSHSZYH342QV8Y9FN

https://www.taskade.com/p/filmul-kung-fu-panda-4-2024-online-subtitrat-in-romana-hd-4-k-01HQQSYAHGH845NCJ08AY2DKP3

https://www.taskade.com/p/urmariti-filmul-kung-fu-panda-4-online-gratis-subtitrate-in-romana-01HQQT8HVTH11X24VFG784A5E1

https://www.taskade.com/p/kung-fu-panda-4-2024-4-k-filmul-vezi-online-subtitrat-in-romana-hd-01HQQT9W97XDXDZRD8H67FY1GF

https://findaspring.org/members/duneparttwofullversion/

https://www.taskade.com/p/4-2024-4-k-hd-1080p-01HQR2EFXT161GWRBRJBJ9EZNC

https://www.taskade.com/p/4-kung-fu-panda-4-2024-hd-01HQR2HSHKQQ25PET1GBKDE0HD

https://findaspring.org/members/kungfupanda4thaisubs/

https://www.taskade.com/p/4-kung-fu-panda-4-2024-thai-sub-01HQR35C5SYTB0WFRZ2SEWSJ2G

https://www.taskade.com/p/4-kung-fu-panda-4-2024-01HQR399A7XCNFKZ0101ZR2VR1

https://findaspring.org/members/thedarkmotherthaisubs/

https://www.taskade.com/p/2024-hd-1080i-01HQR6JMA0NXVXGZ6W5BFBG83V

https://www.taskade.com/p/the-dark-mother-2024-hd-thai-4-k-01HQR6Q6YVTFRP244JWHE23BET

https://www.taskade.com/p/2024-thai-sub-01HQR6XR7XFFBVM374RJCCHVCQ

https://www.taskade.com/p/2024-hd-01HQR71H0EFX4FQ0DER1F58N30

https://findaspring.org/members/gejithespirithunter2024thai/

X2

A1B

A1Y

A1E

GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX API
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY
GOOGLE INDEX PLY

A1P

A1R

↑PelisPlus-VER↓ Fast & Furious X Película completa-español en línea gratis

[REPELIS verFast X (Fast & Furious 10) PELÍCULA COMPLETA Español

[Cuevana 4]!* Ver Fast & Furious 10 (Online) Película Completa 2023 en Español y Latino

✔Fast X (Fast & Furious 10) (2023)🎬 PELICULA COMPLETA➤ ESPAÑOL GRATIS

VOIR ▷ Fast X Film Complet En Francais HD [Regarder]

Regarder Fast X Film Complet En Francais [En HD Regarder]

!VOIR,!! — Fast & Furious X en Streaming-VF en Français, VOSTFR COMPLET

FILM ▷ Fast and Furious 10 en Streaming-VF en Français

ASSISTIR Velocidade Furiosa X 2023 FILME COMPLETO

Assistir Velocidade Furiosa X (2023) Filme Completo Online

!Assistir Filme Velozes e Furiosos 10 Completo HD 2023 Dublado Online

Assistir Velocidade Furiosa X 2023 Online Gratis (Filme HD)

[ดู.หนัง] เงือกน้อยผจญภัย (THE LITTLE MERMAID – 2023) เต็มเรื่อง HD พากย์ไทย ดูหนังใหม่ 1080I

ดูหนัง เงือกน้อยผจญภัย (2023) เต็มเรื่อง HD พากย์ไทย THAI HD Quality

[ดูหนัง.THAI] เงือกน้อยผจญภัย (2023) เต็มเรื่อง HD พากย์ไทย ฟรี on ยูทูบ

รู้ไว้ก่อนดู The Little Mermaid (2023) เงือกน้อยผจญภัย เต็ม เรื่อง

PELISPLUS !MEGA La Sirenita Pelicula Completa (HD) Espanol y Latino

VER_La Sirenita (2023) película completa en español latino

Ver La Sirenita | PELICULA COMPLETA LATINO

VER_La Sirenita (2023) película completa en español latino

REPELIS] Ver Transformers: El despertar de las bestias (2023) Película Online

[¡PELISPLUS!]*—Ver Transformers El despertar de las bestias [2023] Pelicula Completa Online en Español HD

Mega!-ver Transformers: El despertar de las bestias (Pelicula) HD online en espanol latino

PElis NUE (4k) ver Transformers: El despertar de las bestias ~Pelicula completa HD

[ดู-ไทย] ทรานส์ฟอร์เมอร์ส: กำเนิดจักรกลอสูร [TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS-2023] – ดูหนังออนไลน์ (1080P) พากย์ไทย เต็มเรื่อง

ดู-หนัง!*] Transformers 2023 (ทรานส์ฟอร์เมอร์ส : กำเนิดจักรกลอสูร) ดูหนังออนไลน์ HD พากย์ไทย 1080p

ดูหนัง ทรานส์ฟอร์เมอร์ส: กำเนิดจักรกลอสูร (Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts) ออนไลน์ฟรี HD พากย์ไทย THAI!

[ดู.หนัง] ทรานส์ฟอร์เมอร์ส: กำเนิดจักรกลอสูร (2023) หนังเต็ม HD พากย์ไทย [Transformers: Rise of the Beasts]

Assistir Transformers: Rise of the Beasts [2023] Filme Completo Dublado Online Gratis em Portuguese

[[*Assistir]] Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Filme completo [ 2023 ] Dublado Portugues Grátis Online

Assistir Transformers O Despertar das Feras filme completo Dublado online Legendado

ASSISTIR! Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) Filme Dublado Online Legendado HD Grátis

Transformers : Rise of the Beasts Streaming VF 2023 Regarder Film-Complet HD

!4K-VOIR!!@ — The Beasts en StreamingVF||COMPLET, VOSTFR-Gratuits

[.^WATCH^.] Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) FullMovie Free Online Streaming on 123𝓶𝓸𝓿𝓲𝓮𝓼

[*𝐅𝐈𝐋𝐌𝐒 𝐕𝐎𝐈𝐑*] Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) Français Gratuit et VF Complet

A1G

A1C

A1X

KON

A1s

SCI