ISTANBUL — The Turkish women’s national volleyball team received a boisterous welcome home Monday after winning the European Championship, as many hailed the hard-won title — the first ever for Turkey — as a symbol of women’s empowerment in a country often polarized between secular and Islamic worldviews.
A crowd of supporters carrying national flags and flowers, an army of press members and a band playing the team’s unofficial anthem — a folkloric tune known as "Erik Dali" ("Plum Branch") — greeted the team also known as the Sultans of the Net as they arrived at an Istanbul airport.
Speaking at the airport, team captain Eda Erdem Dundar said they were proud to win the title as the country is celebrating the centennial of the foundation of the modern Turkish Republic.
“It's incredibly empowering to see the country uniting behind us, people supporting us behind giant screens. We thank everybody a lot,” she told journalists.