Recep Kara Wins Emotional 655th Kirkpinar

In an atmosphere filled with expressions of solidarity, more wrestlers than ever before competed in the 655th Kirkpinar in Edirne.

Recep Kara overcame his opponent to win the 655th Kirkpinar
By Yasemin Orhun
Jul. 24, 2016 17:35 UTC
Recep Kara overcame his opponent to win the 655th Kirkpinar

Recep Kara over­pow­ered his oppo­nent Mehmet Y. Yeşil to win the 655th annual Kirkpinar olive oil wrestling tour­na­ment today in Edirne’s Kirkpinar region amid Turkey’s polit­i­cal tur­moil.

2,000 kilo­grams of olive oil were pre­pared for the 1,969 wrestlers who applied to the tour­na­ment, which was noted to be the most appli­ca­tions the tour­na­ment had ever received.

Kirkpinar shall take place as long as the Turkish nation stands.- Musa Aydin, Wrestling Federation pres­i­dent

In the open­ing speech of the famous annual tour­na­ment, which is fol­lowed closely by peo­ple in Turkey, Musa Aydin, the pres­i­dent of the Wrestling Federation remarked that Kirkpinar shall take place as long as the Turkish nation stands.” Numerous ref­er­ences were made allud­ing to the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Turkey dur­ing the tour­na­ment by view­ers, com­ments of the con­tes­tants and the orga­niz­ers.

Throughout the tour­na­ment, nation­al­is­tic polit­i­cal slo­gans in sup­port of the heroic Turkish police” and the great Turkish nation” were observed.

Recep Kara overcame his opponent, Mehmet Y. Yeşil, to win the 655th Kirkpinar

The tra­di­tional fes­ti­val that usu­ally takes place before the wrestling matches begin was can­celled due to tur­bu­lent events that arose after the recent coup attempt. Recep Gürkan, mayor of the host­ing city Edirne, announced on 17 July that peo­ple who lost their lives in the events must be respected, hence the con­certs, cook­ing con­tests, folk dances and the archery fes­ti­val that were sup­posed to mark the open­ing of the fes­ti­val would not take place.

The final round of the olive oil wrestling tour­na­ment was con­cluded today with Recep Kara over­pow­er­ing his oppo­nent Mehmet Y. Yeşil.

Kara became a four-time win­ner of the Kirkpinar wrestling tour­na­ment. The first time was in 2004, when he became the youngest (22) to win in the his­tory of the com­pe­ti­tion. The golden belt is a sym­bolic award that remains in the pos­ses­sion of the win­ner for the fol­low­ing year.

Kara once again earned the title başpehli­van,” or head of the pehli­vans,” as the win­ner is known. The title orig­i­nated from the Persian word pahlavān mean­ing a war­rior or brave per­son, and is attrib­uted to the wrestler who wins the tour­na­ment. Recep Kara also received the first place purse of 40,000 Turkish Liras ($13,050).

During the time-out before the final wrestling match, there was an auc­tion con­cern­ing who the ağa of next year’s tour­na­ment will be. The old Turkish title ağa lit­er­ally trans­lates as a land­lord or mas­ter in a rural set­ting depend­ing on the con­text. For the Kirkpinar tour­na­ment, it sig­ni­fies the per­son who will spon­sor and host the event.

The mayor ini­ti­ated the auc­tion from 222,000 Turkish Liras ($72,432) which ended with the win­ning bid of 400,000 TL ($130,508) by a busi­ness­man Seyfettin Selim. The result was not sur­pris­ing to the view­ers as Selim has been host­ing the Kirkpinar since 2009 as the ağa with the excep­tion of 2014. He also men­tioned that he will donate an addi­tional 100,000 TL to the fam­i­lies of those who died dur­ing the events fol­low­ing the failed coup d’etat attempt by the mil­i­tary forces on the 15th of July.


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