Turks get a taste of Olympic spirit
HULL/YORK - Anatolia News Agency
Famous Turkish actress MEltem Cumbul (R) carries the torch during the torch relay for the 2012 London Olympic Games. ‘It is great to see people celebrating in peace and joy even before the Olympics start,’ Cumbul told the Anatolia news agency after the run. AA photo
Actress Meltem Cumbul and rock singer Harun Tekin were among the 12 names to represent Turkey as torchbearers in the Olympic Torch Relay, as the torch made its way from Hull to York northern England.
On the 32nd day of the 70-day relay, it was the Turkish group’s turn to carry the torch. Cumbul lit her torch in Harewood and ran with it to the historic Harewood House with hundreds of people cheering on the roadside.
“It is great to see people celebrating in peace and joy even before the Olympics start,” Cumbul told the Anatolia news agency after a ceremony to mark the torch’s arrival in town.
The famous actress also noted that Istanbul was bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games. “I hope that we will have the same enthusiasm the British people have in Istanbul, in our own city,” she said.
Rock singer Harun Tekin of “Mor ve Ötesi” said the relay was “fun,” thanks to the great interest shown in the event from the local people.
The singer said he was looking forward to the athletics competitions at London 2012. “But of course I will be watching team sports, too, especially exciting ones such as the women’s volleyball,” Tekin said. The Turkish women’s volleyball team made it to the Olympic Games for the first time this year.
Among the other Turkish torchbearers was cross country skier Kelime Aydın Çetinkaya, who became the first Turkish women to compete in Winter Olympics when she finished 56th in 1.5 kilometers race at the 2002 Salt Lake Games.
Feeling like a star
“It is a privilege to carry the Olympic torch,” Çetinkaya said. “I felt like a star when people cheered.”
Journalists Cengiz Semercioğlu and Şelale Kadak, Turkish swimmer Hasan Emre Muşluoğlu and prominent names from civil society “who made a difference,” were the other names to participate in the torch relay.
The flame, which was lit in Greece last month, has been touring the United Kingdom for over a month. The torch will tour London high points including Downing Street, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater on July 26, with a visit also planned to Queen Elizabeth’s home, Buckingham Palace.
Huge numbers of people have turned up all over the country to see the flame as it makes its 12,875-kilometer trek around the U.K. The turnout has prompted authorities to bolster crowd-handling plans for central London during the games.