Demirel maintains post as basketball’s top chief

Demirel maintains post as basketball’s top chief

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Demirel maintains post as basketball’s top chief

Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) Chairman Turgay Demirel is congratulated by a delegate after his sixth election victory. Demirel, who has been the TBF chairman since 1992, then posed with the members of his new executive board (inset).

Turgay Demirel won the Turkish Basketball Federation’s (TBF) presidential elections for a record fifth term yesterday.

Demirel, who has held the post for 20 years, beat his rival Ali Doğan 105 votes to 67 in the TBF elections held in Ankara. His strong showing is evidence of Demirel’s invincible status as TBF chairman, given that Doğan had the open backing of four major basketball clubs.

Fenerbahçe Ülker, Anadolu Efes, Galataray Medical Park and Beşiktaş announced recently that they would support Doğan, a former Ülkerspor chairman, in the elections. Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım also made a speech before the elections to the delegations, but his, and other big clubs’, support were not enough to dethrone Demirel.

The chairman has said he aims to make Turkey one of the top three basketball nations in the world, with the United States and Spain.

“With our new board, we will try to live up to our goals,” Demirel said after his election victory yesterday. “I would like to thank Mr. Doğan for the competition. If he had not been in the race, we would not have been as ambitious about announcing our projects to the public. Thanks to the voters for helping Turkish basketball win in the end.”

In his twenty years as chief of the Turkish Basketball Federation, Turgay Demirel has overseen a significant rise in the profile of Turkish basketball. Demirel’s four terms have seen basketball cement its place as the second most popular sport in the country after football, and also become a lucrative industry.

“When we started out in 1992 we had a board of three people. Now we have 20 people and we are more professional. Everything has changed,” Demirel said in an interview with NTV Spor on Sept. 16.
During his period in charge of the federation, Turkish basketball, which was once considered an almost amateur sport, became an enterprise in which millions are invested. Anadolu Efes, then known as Efes Pilsen, was a key factor in this rise, becoming a competitive team in European championships and the first Turkish team to win a continental trophy, with the Korac Cup in 1996. Along with other companies investing in basketball, such as Ülker and Tofaş, Turkey’s top sports clubs -- Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş -- also gave more importance to the sport during this period. Demirel’s success can also be measured in the national basketball team’s impressive recent performances. Turkey won the silver medal at the European Championships in 2001 and the World Championships in 2010, both in tournaments that it was hosting. The women’s national team managed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games earlier this year as well. Turkey also won the right to host the 2014 World Women’s Basketball Championships with Demirel at the helm.

The 55-year-old also served as vice president of FIBA, basketball’s world governing body, between 2006 and 2010.