Beloved loggerhead sea turtles happy to promote hometown
The loggerhead sea turtles bury their eggs in holes they dig on the shores at night. They lay eggs in many coastal areas in Turkey’s Mediterranean provinces.Loggerhead sea turtles, whose existence is thought to date back almost 106 million years, are one of the most ancient species in the world mainly living on Mediterranean coasts. Mersin is the homeland of these nearly extinct animals.
Loggerhead sea turtles, the mascot of the 17th Mediterranean Games, never go on land except when laying eggs. Though they take oxygen from the air, it can survive underwater for a long time.
They bury their eggs in holes they dig on the shores at night. They could lay 100 or more eggs at a time. The areas where they lay eggs include Adana’s Yumurtalık district, Mersin, Belek, Anamur, Köyceğiz and Dalyan shores. They are under protection since they are an endangered species. Also, there is a hospital in Mersin specifically to protect these endangered turtles.
Loggerhead beats orange
The loggerhead sea turtle was selected as the mascot of the games since Mersin is the homeland of these ancient creatures. It is not a coincidence for this animal to become a symbol of such a meaningful event. Loggerhead sea turtles on the Mersin shores are worth seeing.
The Youth and Sports Ministry and 17th Mediterranean Games Committee selected the loggerhead sea turtles as the official mascot of the games as a result of an online poll. At the first stage, oranges were considered as a possible mascot since Mersin was also the homeland of citrus fruit. However, the loggerhead sea turtle beat the orange in the polls.
Even the Mersin Stadium was developed with inspiration from the loggerhead sea turtle. When looked at from above, traces of the turtle can be clearly seen in the 25,000-person capacity stadium.
Peace coming to region with oranges and turtles
The 2013 Mersin XVII. Mediterranean Games logo consists of the elements representing Mersin and the Mediterranean. While the loggerhead sea turtle emerging from the sea symbolizes the Mediterranean Sea and friendship, the orange reflects the citrus fruit and hot climate of the region with its form like a sun.
While the loggerhead sea turtle logo was chosen for the 17th Mediterranean Games, the slogan of the games became “Three continents – one heart” again with a poll. The games gained a different identity due to the participation of 24 countries from Asia, Europe and Africa.
6,092 participants expected
Since the first Mediterranean Games held in 1951, none of the games have reached the number of participants in Mersin this year. Breaking the records of the games’ history, countries have sent 6,092 participants to Mersin.
As part of the tradition, another concept like the Olympic Torch is used at the Mediterranean Games.
According to the custom of the “water ceremony,” which began at the 1955 Mediterranean Games hosted by Spain, each participant country brings a jar filled with water from their own sea, and all the water is poured into a pool. This ceremony symbolizes the peace and unity between Mediterranean countries.