It’s great to see Turkish curling continue its slow and steady—but promising—development.
Three Turkish teams made the three event finals of the Pre-Olympic Qualifying Event hosted on home ice in Erzurum. Two of them earned gold and a trip to the OQE in the Netherlands.
Dilşat Yildiz and Uğurcan Karagöz have competed in four World Mixed Doubles Championships with their highest finish at eighth place.
Yıldiz’s women’s team was the first to break Turkish curling into world curling consciousness. After competing in four straight European B-Division Championships between 2012 and 2015, the squad finished 8-3 in 2016 and earned a place at the following year’s main European “A” event.
Their ninth-place finish in 2017 dropped them back into the B-Division but they’ve been a threat to win their way back to “A” ever since.
Suffice to say, Yildiz’s team also won one of the two OQE women’s berths in Erzurum. The Turks finished second in their group and had to defeat Hungary (6-5 in an extra-end) and then Slovakia (12-3) to claim the berth.
In men’s play, the Czech Republic stole their way to Holland with a 7-6 victory over Spain. Meanwhile, Turkey’s men’s team made a playoff run, beating Kyrgyzstan 10-3 in a semifinal before falling to Finland 10-9 in an extra-end to just miss the last OQE men’s berth.
Not bad for a nation that joined the World Curling Federation in 2009. They’ve benefitted from their Erzurum facility hosting regular WCF competitions—four were hosted within three years of its opening in 2010; the 2011 Winter Universiade, the 2012 World Mixed Doubles, 2012 European Mixed and 2012 European C-Division—and the hard work of their national team players.