A National Volleyball Team won the championship by beating its opponent this time in the final match, which it played for the third time in its history.
A National Volleyball Team made history by winning the final match against Serbia at the 2023 CEV European Championship.
The Sultans of the Net, who beat Italy 3-2 in the semi-finals of the European Women’s Volleyball Championship, reached the finals and reached the first championship in its history by overcoming the Serbian barrier.
The Turkish National Team, who lost the first set 27-25, took the lead from start to finish and finished the second set 25-21 ahead.
In the match played at the Palais 12 of Brussels Expo Stadium, the Sultans of the Net started the third set fast again and lost the set they took in the last moments, thus falling behind 2-1.
Starting the fourth set at the front, the National Team won the set in the last points, despite falling behind, and equalized the situation.
Starting the final set well, the national team caught a two-point (3-5) advantage at the beginning of the set and gave Serbian Head Coach Giovanni Guidetti a time-out. Returning from the time-out with a two-pointer, Serbia equalized at 5-5. While mutual numbers were taken in the game, the last part of the set was entered with 10-10 equality. Capturing a two-point series, the national team went ahead 12-10. Making few mistakes at the end of the set, the national team won the final set 15-13 and the match 3-2.
At the ceremony held after the competition, the gold medals were presented to the nationals by the President of the Turkish Volleyball Federation, Mehmet Akif Üstündağ.
After the medals were given, the National Anthem was sung in Paleis 12 Hall.
After Captain Eda Erdem Dündar lifted the trophy, the national players, who had great joy in the hall, celebrated the championship by playing.
Eda Erdem Dündar, captain of the A National Women’s Volleyball Team, told Anadolu Agency that they are happy and proud to be champions:
“I am very happy to be a part of the team that brought the European championship to our country after the Nations League in the 100th anniversary of our Republic.”
Melissa Vargas named “Most Valuable Player”
Melissa Vargas, who scored 41 points in the final match, was chosen as the “Most Valuable Player of the European Championship”.
Vargas was once again named the most valuable player after the League of Nations organization.
National Team finished the group matches of the championship as the leader
Having beaten Belgium 3-1 in the round of 16, the Turkish National Team defeated Poland 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
A National Women’s Volleyball Team managed to reach the final for the third time in the European Championship so far.
Volleyball Team, which qualified to play in the finals in 2003 and 2019, lost both final matches and remained in second place.
Serbia, which came second and third place in the Olympic Games, has 2 gold and 1 bronze medals in the world championships, and 3 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals in the European championships.
Netherlands won the bronze medal
The Netherlands Women’s Volleyball Team placed third in the 2023 CEV European Championship.
In the bronze medal competition held in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, the last European champions Italy and the Netherlands met.
Defeating their opponent 3-0 with sets of 25-23, 28-26 and 25-20, the Netherlands finished third in the organization.
Amid Struggles, Turkey Finds Heroes in Its Women’s Volleyball Team
Turkey is basking in the success of players it calls “Sultans of the Net,” seeing paragons of female empowerment in a country grappling with multiple crises.
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, the Turkish team faced Serbia in the final match of the European championship in Brussels — and won, 3-2.
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.
The Sultans of the Net took Turkey to the streets
Millions of people across Turkey watched the 2023 CEV Women’s European Volleyball Championship final match played between Turkey and Serbia on the screens set in the square. Celebrations were held in the squares after the championship.
Defeating Serbia 3-2 in the final of the 2023 CEV European Championship, the National Women’s Volleyball Team became the champion for the first time in its history. Citizens watching the match on giant screens celebrated the end of the match.
A screen was installed in İzmir Alsancak Gündoğdu Square. The people of Izmir, who applauded the players one by one in the square where citizens of all ages gathered, followed the match with great excitement.
İpek Özcan, who came to the square with her baby, stated that she was very excited and gave full support to their team and said, “This time, we are the champions. I am constantly following. We have a baby, we put him to sleep for 5 months, we watch it, if we can’t catch it, we watch the replay. Sometimes he watches too.” said.
Citizen Berat Karaçam said that they were very excited and said, “We have Vargas, we are hopeful. Finals love us, we love it too. We trust the whole team.” he said.
Ece İşermiş said, “This is a time when we need such great pride, excitement and happiness. It’s a great motivation for all of us. Let’s hope it turns out much better. I love our captain Eda and Ebrar very much. We’ll make it this time, I believe. All of us are highly motivated, and this reflects on them as well.” used the phrases.
After the championship, citizens participated in the celebrations.
Kars Municipality has set up a giant screen in the Bedesten area at the foot of Kars Castle for those who want to watch the match of the National Women’s Volleyball Team against Serbia in the final of the CEV European Championship.
Many people gathered in the Bedesten area supported the final excitement of the “Sultans of the Net” in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, with Turkish flags in their hands. After the championship, there was great joy throughout the city.
In the event organized by Sinop Municipality, a giant screen was installed in Uğur Mumcu Square. The Turkish flag was distributed to the citizens who came to watch the match by the municipality officials.
Hundreds of fans, who supported the national team in the contested match, followed the fight with great enthusiasm and filled the field, supported the “Sultans of the Net” with applause and cheers in every issue they won.
Many local and foreign tourists, as well as the residents of the city, watched the match with interest.