Oil wrestling and basketball in Turkey

Pehlivan pehlivan

alta gittim diye yerinme

üste çıktım diye sevinme

Oh warrior, oh warrior

don’t get sad because you’re below

do not rejoice because you are above

Here are some verses of multiple poems of galvanization of the wrestlers, who, in the open air and in a group, try to make touch the lawn with the shoulders of the adversary. This is the sport where men, often overweight, smeared in oil, bare-chested, wearing tight leather shorts called kıspet, wrestle to the beat given by a big drum and the exclamations of the criers.

Turkish oil wrestling, the oldest regularly practiced sports activity

The origins of this struggle are still debated. While some believe that this tradition was born among the Turks only after the occupation of Anatolia in the 11th century, linking the tradition to ancient Greek wrestling, others refer this sport to the Turks of Central Asia, or even find analogies with Sumo fighting! Ottoman chronicles indicate a first competition in the 14th century, with sport subsequently becoming the favorite entertainment activity during religious festivals and ceremonies. A regular competition takes place every year in June in Kırkpınar near Edirne (listed in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List since 2010). According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the oldest regularly practiced sporting activity. One more contradiction of Turkish society, this spectacle, which gives the impression of an erotic homosexual orgy, is a symbol of male virility accompanied by Islamic invocations.

Basketball in Turkey, a sport associated with the Western bourgeoisie

On the other side of the social spectrum, another sport mobilizes crowds, associated with the Western bourgeoisie. While football has been the popular sport in every sense of the word since the beginning of the 20th century, basketball entered the ranks of popular sports in Turkey from the 1970s. , with the broadcast of an American television series, The White Shadow on the only state channel at the time, under the title of Beyaz Gölge, that basketball had become the favorite sport of young people from the middle bourgeoisie. Throughout the 1990s, basketball continued to attract viewers, especially after the proliferation of private channels broadcasting matches. The 2000s represent the peak of Turkish basketball, especially from the 2001 European Championship when the national team’s sponsor, a bank, had a Turkish ska punk band compose the famous song by 12 Dev Adam , Athena. Since then, the song and the slogan have accompanied the national team, which multiplied international successes until it became second in the world at the 2010 world championship, after the United States.

Uh-hah dev adam, 12 dev adam

Uh-hah dev adam hey, hey, hey, hey

Her zaman yanindayiz

Yanlız bırakmayacağız

Kanka senle bir kez daha

Şampiyon olacağız

Hou, Ha, the giant man, 12 giant men

Hou, ha, the giant man hey, hey, hey, hey

We are always by your side

We will never leave you

Bro, with you, once again

We will become champions.


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