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Traditional Sports

Posted by Alper Ocaklı on June 24, 2015
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Turkey has in fact a wide range and variety in traditional sports, a few of them we have mentioned below. The sports are largely variations of wrestling (aba wrestling, grease wrestling), horse race, jereed, camel wrestling, bullfighting, cockfighting, hunting etc.
Jereed was very popular all over Anatolia 50-60 years ago, although today it is only seen in some parts of the Kars- Erzurum region and in the Aegean. The great interest felt by Turkish people in horse rising, and their considerable success at it, turned first into an entertainment and later into a sport. The jereed was a kind of a javelin game played either on horse or on foot, although today it appears as a cudgel. The mounted variation is played with two teams, each consisting of ten people. Riders throw the jereed while approaching each other at the gallop. Avoiding the jereed, and particularly catching it in mid-air, earns a score. When or how to throw the jereed is pre-determined. The game is played by men, and generally performed at weddings, on special days or at fairs.

Camel Wrestling

It is said that the first camel wrestling competition was held in the village of Hidirbeyli in Aydin’s Incirliova township about two centuries ago. However, A. Munis Armagan gives a different account in his book Bati Anadolu Tarihinde Ilginc Olaylar (Interesting Incidents in Western Anatolian History), in the chapter on the “End of the Camels” Armagan writes that camel wrestling was done in the time of Mahmut II, in Tire and its surroundings.

Kirkpinar Wrestling

The History of Kirkpinar
Various stories are told to explain how Kirkpinar wrestling started some 641 years ago. The following tale is the one most widely told:
In 1346, during military expeditions led by Orhan Gazi to conquer Rumelia (the part of the Ottoman Empire which lay in Europe), his brother Suleyman Pasa marched with 40 soldiers to Domuzhisar, which was then in the hands of the Byzantines. They raided and conquered the Domuzhisar, or Domuz Fortress. After also conquering other fortresses, the group of 40 soldiers who formed the advance guard returned, and they came to rest in Samona, which is today in Greece. There, these 40 soldiers began to wrestle. After hours of wrestling, two brothers named Ali and Selim both proved unable to defeat the other. On a Hidrellez day (a festival held on May 6 to celebrate the beginning of summer), these two brothers started wrestling again. The wrestling match lasted the entire day but still neither man could defeat his brother, so the contest continued throughout the night illuminated by candle and torch light. At the end, however, both of the brothers ran short of both breath and energy and so they died.

Then there is offcourse the most popular sport of today; football (soccer). Turkish people are a big fan of the sport, and the premier league is followed continueisly. The Turkish premier league consists of 18 teams, the most known of them are ofcourse Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas. Galatasaray is the only team that has won the UEFA cup.


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