Turkey Return

Players and coaching staff members pose with Turkish Volleyball Federation president Mehmet Akif Üstündağ (Photo: TVF)

The celebrations for the first Turkish title in the Volleyball Nations League continued on Tuesday, when the Sultans of the Net were welcomed back home following their successful campaign in the Finals of the 2023 edition of the tournament, in Arlington, the United States.

The flight with players and coaching staff members landed in the country’s capital Istanbul during the day and they were welcomed by a music band, media members and fans, who handed the team flowers and congratulated them for their historic result.

One of the team’s standouts during the VNL Finals, outside hitter Ebrar Karakurt thanked the fans for their support and remarked on the importance of the result, which took Türkiye to first place in the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Ranking.

“We’re very happy to bring to our country one of the most important gold medals in international volleyball,” she said. “I’m very proud of what we did as a team, we showed the strength of Turkish women. Türkiye is now in first place when it comes to volleyball and that’s very important for us. The fans are the driving force behind us and I hope this is just the beginning of our story. Together, we can write even better ones.”

After some days of rest, head coach Daniele Santarelli will gather the players again as they start their preparations for the European Championship, which will take place in Belgium, Estonia, Germany and Italy from August 17 to September 3.

The main tournament of the season for the Turkish, however, will be the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic volleyball qualifier, which will be played from September 16-24. The Europeans are in Pool B, which is based in Japan, and will face the host country, Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Argentina and Peru for a spot in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Turkish Return 2

Captain Eda Erdem exits the airplane waving a Turkish flag (Photo: TVF)

Captain and middle blocker Eda Erdem, who’s been with the national team since 2005, reminded the dramatic Turkish elimination to Korea in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, in 2021, and promised that after the first big success at the international level, the team will go for more.

“Two years ago, we were here in this same room after the match against Korea and we were very sad,” she commented. “We didn’t forget those feelings and now we’re very happy and proud. This is a historic success for Turkish volleyball, but it’s not our peak, in fact, it’s just the beginning. Our goal now is to reach the top at the Olympics.”

Quick links:
Volleyball Nations League
Subscribe to Volleyball World's Newsletter