Turkish women volleyballers: from critique to kudos

The Turkish team has won the Women’s European Volleyball Championship for the first time, triggering a wave of euphoria. Previously the team and its openly gay player Ebrar Karakurt were the targets of ridicule and fierce criticism by conservative and Islamist circles. For anti-government Turkish media, this makes the team’s success all the sweeter.

Yetkin Report (TR) /

Hurrah for the Republic!

The players are teaching their critics a lesson, Murat Yetkin rejoices on his blog:

“Our volleyball champions dedicate their victory to the people, the Republic and thus to [its founder] Atatürk, who ensured that women came to the forefront in society. ... The support was genuine and sincere. I’m not talking about the politicians trying to outdo each other with their congratulations. Throughout the match I could hear people urging the team on excitedly and shouting ‘Türkiye’ through my open window. ... In these days when attacks on the values of the Republic, women’s rights and even on the Republic itself with the calls for a caliphate, are ever more frequent, and inflation overshadows everything else, the players have brought us joy and strengthened our morale.”

Murat Yetkin
T24 (TR) /

A victory against political Islam

This victory goes beyond sport, columnist Mehmet Yakup Yılmaz observes on T24:

“Many commentaries see this victory for the Turkish women’s volleyball team also as a victory against political Islam and a viewpoint that restricts women’s place in the world to the household and their duty to bear children! ... This is why the Taliban fans are so angry about this victory and even say: ‘I wish Serbia had won’. They are aggrieved to see women who leave their homes being more successful than men. ... This victory has allowed people who see their way of life in danger and who despair of the opposition parties to shout out once more that they exist.”

Mehmet Yakup Yılmaz,