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Fireworks, balloons and confetti filled the sky as tens of thousands of flag-waving Turks greete Turkey's World Cup squad on their return to Istanbul.
Turkey came third in the tournament after beating co-hosts South Korea 3-2 Saturday, an achievement that exceeded most Turkish expectations.


Striker Hakan Sukur scored in the opening 11 seconds of that game to set a World Cup record for the fastest goal.

Earlier, Turkish fighter jets escorted a plane carrying the team over the country's airspace.


Gunes: We made our mark
Dressed in shorts and jerseys, the players descended the steps of the plane and climbed on an open-top bus to parade through the city.

After a drive that lasted nearly three hours, the squad joined a massive street party at Istanbul's largest square, Taksim.

Fireworks and balloons were released as soon as the bus approached.

The players sang and danced on stage with Turkey's best-known pop star Tarkan as more than 50,000 watched.

The team's success has been a welcome distraction from the country's gloomy economic crisis and political uncertainty.

The economy shrank 9.4 percent last year, leading to massive layoffs.

"We're very happy," said Tolga Kadioglu, who was celebrating at Taksim square.

"But it won't last. ... Our problems will return in the morning."
BBC
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Associated Press

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) -- Turkish fighter jets escorted a plane carrying Turkey's World Cup squad over the country's airspace Sunday while thousands of Turks cheered, waved flags and treated the team to a hero's' return.

Dozens of fans, bedecked in Turkey's red and white colors, cheered on the tarmac as the players, dressed in shorts and jerseys, descended the steps of the plane and climbed on an open-top bus.

Thousands of others waited outside the airport or lined streets to watch the team parade through the city, shouting "Turkey is the greatest" and "Turkey is proud of you."

The players, wearing Hawaiian-style flower leis around their necks, smiled, waved flags and clapped from top of the bus.

The bus was to end up at the city's largest square, Taksim, where a massive street party was underway.

Turkey placed third in the World Cup after beating co-host South Korea 3-2 Saturday, a success that went beyond most Turks' expectations.

Striker Hakan Sukur scored in the opening 11 seconds of the bronze-medal game, setting a World Cup record for the fastest goal.

The national soccer team's unprecedented success has been a welcome distraction from the country's gloomy economic crisis and political uncertainty. Turkey's economy shrank 9.4 percent last year, leading to massive layoffs.

Tens of thousands of Turks poured out into the streets with every Turkish win, waving flags, dancing and driving in convoys of honking cars.

"We're very happy," said Tolga Kadioglu, one of thousands celebrating at Taksim square Sunday. "But it won't last. ... Our problems will return in the morning."

Fans danced, sang, jumped up and down, lit flares and held up signs that read: "Welcome back dream team," and "Gunes' golden boys are Turkey's pride," in reference to Turkey coach Senol Gunes.

Turkey's military assigned F-16 warplanes to escort the team in a rare honor only bestowed on top dignitaries.

Teen-age girls held up signs that read "I love you" or shouted "Ilhan, Ilhan" for Ilhan Mansiz, the 21-year old striker that has become the country's heartthrob. Mansiz scored Turkey's overtime winner in the quarterfinals against Senegal.

As three large TV screens at Taksim showed replays of the squad's best goals, some expressed yearning for the missed World Cup title.

"They have given us a lot of happiness, but I cannot help thinking that we could have won the cup," student Ceyda Sipahioglu said.

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the part about ilhan is funny:D
 

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A fantastic celebration! The player's must be so proud.

Alpay's got to give up the singing though!:D

I wonder how a non-Turkish speaking Muzzy felt?


Oh yes, and Ilhan's 26. I wish he was only 21.:)
 

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Perfect celebration there. I wonder what would we do if we had won the cup, 40 days, 40 nights celebration maybe :) . Anyway, we're gonna see it in four years :D .

Congratulations once again to our national team. They deserved everything.
 

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HakanK said:


I wonder how a non-Turkish speaking Muzzy felt?


he probably didnt even know what Turkey was like. I wonder what was going in his mind, must be thinking what the hell he was doing in the middle of a bunch of crazy lads;)


I prmise you Muzzy will never return to the NT after this;)

not to mention he only played 23 minutes the wholke competition...but it was the right thing i guess.
 

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It was simply perfect. I watched it on TRT-1. Very fantastical show;)
Qahramanlar deserved such comeback:)
 
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