Sunday, March 28, 2010

Turkey's football league

A few shots from a Turkish football game... At the end of the first half, the score was 12 - 20. METU came from behind and defeated the home team Hacettepe 46-20.

It was a nice Saturday and I went to shoot the sport I love the most. I haven't shot football since my first semester at Missouri when I was kindly granted a field pass by the Athletic department. I played football for 6 years in Turkey.

Football has been played in Turkey since 1993. For 8 years, Turkish teams did not have any equipment. It was still played as a contact sport, just like rugby but rougher. I played one and a half years like that.

In 2001, teams started acquiring helmets and pads. Most of the equipment was donated by high schools in the US and brought to Turkey by Tom Kelly, the gridiron diplomat as he called himself. Most of the equipment wouldn't pass US safety inspections. A good deal of them were too small for adult players. Turkish players were happy regardless.

I remember how ecstatic my teammates and I were when Tom arrived with two huge bags of used equipment. We spent the whole night in the gym to screw the face masks on, attach the straps etc.

Today there are three official leagues (two club and one university league), over 15 teams, funding available through an official federation and sponsors, even columnists writing commentary on a Turkish football portal. The quality of Turkish football is comparable to semi-pro level in the US. I'm hopeful that it'll get better. There are Turkish players already in better European leagues like those in Germany. I hope one day we'll be able watch Turkish players in the NFL.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Zealand's Foreign Minister McCully visits Turkey

These shots are from New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully's visit to Turkey. The first three were selected by Reuters. I heard that the "climbing" shot (#2) was actually printed by a New Zealand paper. I wanted to share three outtakes in addition; I hope that's not too much for your blogging taste.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully visits Lone Pine in Gallipoli March 5, 2010. Lone Pine is the Australian memorial located where the first battle of the Gallipoli campaign was fought. Some 4,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers struggled to get ashore on this narrow beach 95 years ago in the ill-fated campaign that claimed more than 130,000 lives at the edge of this remote peninsula in western Turkey.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully climbs up a trench from World War I as he visits the ANZAC cemeteries in Gallipoli March 5, 2010.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully (R) visits the ANZAC cemeteries as he is accompanied by New Zealand's Ambassador to Ankara Andrea Smith (L) in Gallipoli March 5, 2010.