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Turks rally around Olympic volleyball star attacked over sexuality 

When a member of Turkey's Olympic volleyball team faced online abuse after posting intimate photos of herself with a woman on Instagram, Turks of all stripes spoke up in her defense.
Turkey's Zehra Gunes (C) and Ebrar Karakurt (R) attempt to block a shot in the women's quarter-final volleyball match between South Korea and Turkey during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on Aug. 4, 2021.

Homophobia has become a rallying cause for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as it has for fellow populists — Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Poland’s Andrzej Duda — who also rely on polarizing issues to whip up support. However, in a stunning rebuke of the Turkish strongman’s anti-gay rhetoric, Turks of all stripes came out in defense of Turkish Olympic volleyball star Ebrar Karakurt when she faced online abuse after posting intimate photos of herself with a woman on Instagram. 

Karakurt, a member of the “Sultans of the Net” volleyball team, helped Turkey’s national volleyballers reach the quarter finals of the Tokyo Olympic games. With her crop of hot pink hair and exuberant displays, Karakurt cut a colorful figure on court and has been widely praised for her prowess, bagging two silver medals in previous international tournaments. 

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