Turkish women’s volleyball team wins European champions title

The Turkish women's volleyball team, known as “the Sultans of the Net,” defeated Serbia 3-2 and won the 2023 CEV Women's European Volleyball Championship title. Islamists and pro-government figures, on the other hand, have continued to target and attack one of the star players of the team, Ebrar Karakurt, over her sexual identity.

Duvar English

The Turkish national women's volleyball team on Sept. 3 beat Serbia in a five-set thriller in the final of the 2023 CEV Women's European Volleyball Championship.

The team won the final 3-2 with the sets of 27-25, 21-25, 25-22, 22-25, 13-15 at Brussels' Palais 12 under the management of coach Daniele Santarelli.

Melissa Vargas scored 41 points in the final match and was selected as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament.

The team’s captain Eda Erdem shared a video on Twitter and said, “With great pride, hugs and greetings to my beautiful country.”

Speaking after the match, Erdem said “In the 100th anniversary of our republic, we first won the Nations League, then became the European champion. We have written an incredible story. I'm happy, I'm proud!”

Another star player, Ebrar Karakurt said “You in the stands and on the screen, we on the field, we fought together and we won! This championship is for our beautiful country... Turkey, the biggest in Europe!”

Karakurt and Vargas' celebrating the championship has gone viral on social media.

Islamists continue to attack Karakurt over her sexual identity

On the other hand, former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), once again targeted Ebrar Karakurt over her sexual identity and said “We have no step back regarding Ebrar. Tanzimat remnants who criticize Sultan Abdulhamid should not have a place in the national team.”

Previously, Karakurt received a tweet from a social media user named Abdulhamid Denge who said “As the Muslim Turkish Nation, we continue to tolerate you,” targeting her sexual identity.

In response, Karakurt said “Don’t mess around, Abdulhamid.” Pro-Islamist figures claimed that Karakurt was targeting the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdulhamid II, who is a prominent figure for them. 

The AKP's board member, Mücahit Birinci, on Sept. 2 said "When we criticize a volleyball player who puts a genderless lifestyle in the eyes of the public through the national team and adopts it as a mission, for the attitude that collapses on the success of the national team, and for her effort to draw attention to herself in an 'egocentric' way, the social media apparatus of genderless foundations and associations shout insults in a chorus. We are tired of this person (Karakurt) casting a shadow on our national achievements. If I had one vote, I would use it to remove the person from the national team."

With the latest successes of the volleyball team, Karakurt has been targeted frequently over her lifestyle and sexual identity.

After the final, Karakurt shared her picture with Vargas and said "This isn't the first final we've played, nor the first psychological warfare we've had."