The National Sport of Turkey: An Insight into Özel Türk Sporları

August 25, 2023

Turkey, a country rich in culture and history, is known for its vibrant traditions. Among these traditions, sports play a significant role in shaping the country's identity. While football has gained tremendous popularity in recent years, there is another type of sport that holds a special place in Turkish culture - Özel Türk Sporları, the national sport of Turkey.

Origins of Özel Türk Sporları

Özel Türk Sporları, which means "Special Turkish Sports" in English, refers to a collection of traditional sports originating from different regions of Turkey. These sports have been passed down through generations and have become an integral part of the country's heritage.

The roots of Özel Türk Sporları can be traced back thousands of years. Many of these sports have their origins in the nomadic Turkic tribes that inhabited the Central Asian steppes before migrating to Anatolia.

Types of Özel Türk Sporları

Özel Türk Sporları consists of various disciplines, each with its own unique set of rules, equipment, and techniques. Let's explore some of the most prominent types:

Yağlı Güreş (Oil Wrestling)

Yağlı Güreş, also known as Oil Wrestling, is one of the oldest and most popular traditional Turkish sports. It involves two competitors wrestling in an area covered in olive oil. The goal is to pin down the opponent's shoulder blades to the ground.

This ancient sport, which dates back to the Turkic nomadic era, is famous for its gripping techniques, strength, and balance. Yağlı Güreş tournaments are held throughout the country, attracting both local and international competitors.

Cirit (Javelin)

Cirit, a traditional equestrian sport, showcases the skills of mounted horsemen. Participants ride on horseback and throw wooden javelins towards the opposing team's horsemen. The aim is to score points by hitting the opponent or their horse with the javelin.

Originating from Central Asia, Cirit has evolved into a popular sport in Turkey, requiring excellent horsemanship, precision, and agility. It is primarily played in rural areas during festivals and special events.

Yılkı At (Wild Horse Riding)

Yılkı At, or wild horse riding, is a thrilling and daring sport that originated in the mountainous regions of Turkey. In this traditional sport, horsemen aim to tame and ride wild horses in challenging terrains.

The riders demonstrate their bravery, physical strength, and riding skills as they attempt to control and train these untamed horses. Yılkı At is not only a sport but also a display of horsemanship traditions and a tribute to the nomadic lifestyle of the Turkic tribes.

Preservation and Promotion of Özel Türk Sporları

Despite the rise of modern sports in Turkey, Özel Türk Sporları remains an essential part of the country's cultural fabric. Efforts have been made to preserve and promote these traditional sports on both national and international platforms.

The Turkish government, along with various sports organizations and enthusiasts, organizes festivals, competitions, and exhibitions to showcase Özel Türk Sporları. These events attract participants from different parts of Turkey and abroad, helping to create awareness and appreciation for these ancient sports.

In recent years, Özel Türk Sporları has gained recognition globally. International competitions, exhibitions, and collaborations have provided opportunities for athletes and enthusiasts to share their traditional sports with the rest of the world.


The national sport of Turkey, Özel Türk Sporları, offers a glimpse into the country's past and showcases the cultural heritage of the Turkish people. These ancient sports, rooted in history, continue to captivate audiences and serve as a reminder of the rich traditions that shape Turkey's national identity.

As Turkey embraces modernity, it proudly keeps its traditional sports alive, ensuring that Özel Türk Sporları remains a cherished part of its cultural legacy for generations to come.

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