Turkish volleyball player Ebrar Karakurt became the subject of homophobic attacks on Aug. 15 after posting a photo of herself with her girlfriend on her Instagram account.
Karakurt has been in the spotlight for her success on the national volleyball team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, where the Turkish team rose to the quarter final.
Karakurt's photo that prompted homophobic attacks showed her leaning down to pose with a blonde woman whom she held by the waist. The other woman's face was covered with the phone that captured the image.
An array of Turkish public figures rushed to Karakurt's defense against the homophobic attacks, highlighting the athlete's outstanding success as opposed to her sexual orientation.
"No matter what the conversation is about, the most important thing to keep in mind is that Ebrar doesn't care about anything said about her! She only cares to do her job the best she can. The rest is none of my business, or yours, or anyone else's," wrote Karakurt's teammate Naz Aydemir Akyol.
Ne konuşulursa konuşulsun, herkesin bilmesi gereken en önemli şeylerden biri; Ebrar’ın; hakkında söylenen hiçbir şeye takılmayacağıdır! O sadece kendi işini en iyi şekilde yapabilmeye bakar. Gerisi de ne beni, ne sizi, kısaca kimseyi ilgilendirmez! 🐺💓 pic.twitter.com/f9wHgA1TSa— Naz Aydemir Akyol (@nzydmr11) August 15, 2021
"Always be who you are because the Ebrar we know is very special, very beautiful," wrote another one of Karakurt's teammates, Hande Baladın.
Hep kendin gibi ol çünkü tanıdığımız Ebrar çok özel, çok güzel ♥️ pic.twitter.com/cSD0QY7RkQ— Hande Baladın (@handebaladin) August 15, 2021
"Keep going with your ambition, your fight, and with your reflection of the game's joy to the audience, Ebrar," wrote professional basketball player Sinan Güler.
Hırsınla, mücadelen ile, oyundan aldığın keyifi seyirciye yansıtarak devam Ebrar. https://t.co/tHENQpE6Ay— Sinan Guler (@sinanguler) August 15, 2021
"Ebrar Karakurt is a character who clawed her way up to the national team because she deserves it, who conducts her profession on an international level, a good teammate who doesn't give up until the very end, a good sport who works hard and wins. Don't hesitate to look up to her," wrote Turkish sports presenter İsmail Şenol.
Ebrar Karakurt tırnaklarıyla kazıyarak gelmiş, liyakat sahibi olduğu için milli takımda oynayan, mesleğini uluslararası seviyede uygulayabilen, iyi bir takım arkadaşı, sonuna kadar vazgeçmeyen, sportmen, çalışkan, kazanan bir karakter. Gönül rahatlığıyla örnek alabilirsiniz. 💪🏼❤️— İsmail Şenol (@ismailsenol) August 16, 2021
"What's people's love to you, what's it to you whom people love, what's it to you, what's it to you!" wrote Turkish author Ahmet Ümit accompanied by a photo of Karakurt.
"Successful, brave and free. You are beautiful Ebrar. Just be happy, that's enough!" wrote Turkish journalist Erk Acarer in support of the athlete.
Başarılı, cesur ve özgür. Çok güzelsin Ebrar. Hep mutlu ol yeter! 💖🏳️🌈 https://t.co/rf5MaQAzB1— Erk Acarer (@eacarer) August 15, 2021
Acarer was most recently in the news for being the target of ultranationalist attacks in his Berlin home, which German police later confirmed was part of a larger scheme against oppositional Turkish journalists.
"Her private life is none of anyone's business besides her own. Period!" wrote Turkish pop singer Demet Akalın, known for her support to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Kendinden başka kimseyi ilgilendirmez özel hayatı!! Nokta #EbrarKarakurt— Demet Akalin (@DemetAkalin) August 15, 2021
"You are our pride with your sports, your success, your dreams, your goals, your ambition and your talent, Ebrar!" wrote Turkish actress Doğa Rutkay.
"I hope you're happy with whomever you love," wrote Turkish Workers' Party (TİP) deputy Sera Kadıgil.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been the source of increasingly hostile homophobic rhetoric in recent years, prosecuting dozens for the display of Pride flags, which they deemed items not suitable for sale to underage individuals.