At a time when the country is going through difficult times due to dozens of soldiers being killed by acts of terrorism perpetrated by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), gold and silver medals won by two Turkish athletes in the women's 1,500-meter final at the 2012 London Olympics has helped to disperse clouds of grief and sorrow over the country. Aslı Çakır Alptekin won the gold medal and Gamze Bulut won the silver medal on Friday night, prompting a wave of joy and pride in the country.
“The 1,500-meter final was like a dream for Turkey. It was an expected but a difficult dream to materialize. But it did come true. Two of our athletes who were raised with the values of this country managed to make this dream come true,” said the Zaman daily's Mustafa Ünal in expressing his happiness over the success of the Turkish athletes at the Olympics. He said athletics reflects the sprit of the Olympics and is a sporting field in which Turkey is slowly beginning to show some signs of success. Ünal notes that everyone was expecting Turkey's athletes to win medals at the Olympics but that nobody was expecting such a result.
In consideration of Turkey's overall success at the Olympics, Ünal said: “Is Turkey successful in London? It is not unsuccessful. If we look at the tallies and medals won, we may not be pleased with the outcome. There have been times when we won more medals. Yet London has revealed another reality. Turkey's success has diversified. Our successes are no longer limited to wrestling and weightlifting, which are our traditional events. London is a beginning for Turkey. We expect more gold medals in the Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016 and hope to see a boom in 2020, God willing, in İstanbul.”
Taraf's Ahmet Altan, who watched the Turkish athletes win gold and silver medals on Friday night, said that at the moment the athletes had won the race, he felt as though a big burden on the shoulders of Turkey had disappeared and Turkey had missed experiencing such joy. “Our society needs times when everyone becomes closer to one other, everyone becomes warm over the joy of others and when everyone becomes happy over the success of their children. There is no energy stronger than the great emotional outbursts and mingling at these times. Such a joint energy is like the colorful box of a magician which spreads hope, trust, joy and peace to society,” Altan said, adding that the success of a society is linked to it having many such moments.