Top 26 Most Popular Olympic Players in Turkey of All Time

Matt Reynolds

Turkey has a long and proud tradition of excellence in the Olympic Games, with some of its athletes becoming legends in the sporting world.

From the great weightlifter Naim Süleymanoğlu, to the legendary basketball player Hidayet Türkoğlu, to the brilliant sprinter Elvan Abeylegesse, the list of best Olympic players in Turkey is impressive.

These athletes have represented the country with pride and distinction, and have made Turkey a powerhouse in the world of sports.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the greatest Olympic players in Turkey, as well as those who are currently dominating in the sporting arena.

1. Naim Süleymanoğlu

Naim Süleymanoğlu was an extraordinary Turkish Olympic weightlifter. He was an impressive seven-time World Weightlifting champion and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. He was also known for setting an astonishing 46 world records.

His incredible talent and strength was made even more remarkable by his small stature, measuring only 147 cm in height. His impressive strength and small size earned him the nickname of “Pocket Hercules”. Süleymanoğlu was a powerful demonstration of strength and determination.

Despite his small size, he was able to achieve what many deemed impossible. His accomplishments are a testament to his hard work and determination and will continue to be remembered as a true inspiration.

He was a pioneering figure in the world of weightlifting and a true champion in the eyes of many.

2. Nur Tatar

Nur Tatar Askari is a highly accomplished Turkish taekwondo athlete. She has achieved great success on the world and European stages, competing in the feather, light and welterweight divisions.

She is of Kurdish descent and was previously a member of the TSE Sports Club in Ankara.

Recently, she transferred to the Ankara İller Bankası, where she is currently coached by Cüneyt Gülçek. Askari’s remarkable success in taekwondo is an inspiration to many athletes around the world.

Despite the challenges she may face due to her background, she has managed to become an elite athlete and is now competing at the highest levels of the sport.

Her determination and dedication are commendable, and her success is a testament to the hard work she has put in to reach her goals. Askari’s journey to the top is an inspiring story that will serve as a motivation for future generations of aspiring athletes.

She has shown that with the right attitude and training, anything is possible. With the support of her coach Cüneyt Gülçek, she has been able to hone her skills and reach the highest levels of competition.

Nur Tatar Askari is a true champion and role model for athletes everywhere.

3. Rıza Kayaalp

Rıza Kayaalp is a highly decorated Turkish wrestler who competes in the 130 kg division of Greco-Roman wrestling. He has achieved remarkable success in his field, winning five world championships and twelve European championships.

His success in the Olympics has been extraordinary as well, having won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and bronze medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Olympics.

This impressive record of success has earned him recognition and respect throughout the international wrestling community. His accomplishments serve as a testament to the hard work and dedication he has shown throughout his career.

He is an inspiration to many aspiring wrestlers and a true champion of his sport.

4. Taha Akgül

Taha Akgül is an accomplished Turkish freestyle wrestler in the 125 kg weight division. He has earned a plethora of titles in his distinguished career, including Olympic, World, and European champion.

His accomplishments are made even more impressive by the sheer number of titles he has earned; he is a 3 time world and 10 time European champion.

His greatest achievement was winning the gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics, followed by a bronze medal in the 2020 Summer Olympics, both in the 125 kg division. Akgül’s success in the sport of wrestling is a result of his tireless dedication and hard work.

He is an inspiration to aspiring wrestlers around the world and a true representation of what it takes to become a champion.

5. Servet Tazegül

Servet Tazegül is a highly accomplished taekwondo practitioner from Turkey who has Azerbaijani heritage. He competes in the featherweight division and has won numerous medals both at the world and European levels.

In 2008, he participated in the Summer Olympics which were held in Beijing, China in the men’s 68 kg category. He was successful in winning the bronze medal, adding yet another accolade to his impressive collection of achievements.

His success was a great source of pride for the Turkish and Azerbaijani communities. Furthermore, the bronze medal was a testament to his hard work and dedication as an athlete.

6. İlke Özyüksel

İlke Özyüksel is an accomplished Turkish modern pentathlete. She recently achieved a great success by winning the bronze medal in the women’s individual event at the 2022 World Modern Pentathlon Championships that was held in Alexandria, Egypt.

Modern pentathlon is a sport that combines five different disciplines, including fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, and a combined event of pistol shooting and cross-country running.

It is a highly demanding sport and requires great physical and mental strength to excel. Ilke Özyüksel has been competing in modern pentathlon events since 2018 and has achieved several successes in the sport.

She won the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in 2020 and has since competed in European and World Championships.

Her impressive performance at the World Modern Pentathlon Championships in Alexandria was her biggest success so far and has earned her a great amount of recognition and admiration from the sport community. Ilke is a great example of determination and hard work.

Despite the challenges she faced, she never gave up and believed in her potential. Her success serves as an inspiration to other modern pentathletes, showing them that with dedication and commitment, anything is possible.

7. Halil Mutlu

Halil Mutlu is a renowned figure in the world of weightlifting. He is a former professional Turkish weightlifter who has achieved an impressive record of success in the sport.

He has won numerous World and Olympic championship titles, making him one of the most decorated weightlifters in history. Mutlu is particularly renowned for his feat of winning three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games.

This achievement is incredibly rare and demonstrates his immense talent and dedication to the sport.

This feat has established him as one of the five weightlifters who have achieved this impressive feat. In addition to his Olympic success, Mutlu has also won numerous World Championships.

His achievements include three silver medals at the 1993, 1995 and 1997 World Championships, as well as two golds at the 1994 and 1998 championships.

Mutlu’s impressive record of success in weightlifting is a testament to his talent and dedication to the sport.Overall, Halil Mutlu is a figure of immense respect in the world of weightlifting.

His success in the sport, including his impressive feat of winning three consecutive Olympic gold medals, has secured his place as one of the most decorated weightlifters in history..


8. Mehmet Akif Pirim

Mehmet Akif Pirim is a well-known sports wrestler from Turkey who achieved great success in his career.

He is a former Olympic medalist, having won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics in Men’s Greco-Roman wrestling, and a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in the featherweight class.

Today, Pirim is a successful trainer, having used his experience to help others reach their peak performance. Pirim began his wrestling career at a young age. He competed in various tournaments and eventually achieved great success, becoming one of the top wrestlers in Turkey.

He was selected to represent his country in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, where he earned the gold and bronze medals respectively.

His performance demonstrated his skill and dedication to the sport, as he was able to overcome obstacles and come out on top. After retiring from competitive wrestling, Pirim decided to become a trainer.

He has been able to use his knowledge and experience to help others achieve success in the sport.

His expertise in the field of wrestling has been invaluable, and he has been able to help many athletes reach their full potential. Mehmet Akif Pirim is a well-respected figure in the world of wrestling, and his accomplishments are something to be admired.

He is a great example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. He is also an inspiration to aspiring wrestlers, as he has shown that it is possible to reach the highest level of success in the sport.

9. Mustafa Dağıstanlı

Mustafa Dağıstanlı was a Turkish wrestler who had achieved great success in his sporting career. He was extremely successful in freestyle wrestling, winning gold medals in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, as well as the 1954, 1957, and 1959 World Championships.

His greatest achievement in Greco-Roman wrestling was a gold medal at the 1955 Mediterranean Games. He was a true champion, having achieved many titles and medals throughout his career.

He is an inspiration to many wrestlers, both in Turkey and beyond, as someone who was dedicated to his sport and achieved great success.

10. Ahmet Kireççi

Ahmet Kireççi was an extraordinary athlete from Turkey who achieved remarkable success in the world of sports wrestling.

He was a two-time Olympic medalist, winning the bronze medal in the Middleweight class of Men’s Freestyle Wrestling at the 1936 Olympics and the gold medal in the Heavyweight class of Men’s Greco-Roman Wrestling at the 1948 Olympics.

This accomplishment is highly commendable, as it takes a great deal of dedication and hard work to achieve such success in Olympic-level sports. Kireççi was highly respected and admired for his athletic abilities.

His commitment to the sport and determination to succeed was admired by many.

In addition to his Olympic success, he also won several national and international championships, which further cemented his legacy as one of the greatest sports wrestlers of all time. Kireççi’s accomplishments are a testament to the fact that hard work and dedication can yield great results.

His story is an inspiration to all athletes, especially those from Turkey, that with the right attitude and dedication, it is possible to achieve one’s goals and aspirations.

11. Hatice Kübra İlgün

Hatice Kübra İlgün is a dedicated and talented taekwondo practitioner from Turkey. As a testament to her hard work and dedication, she recently won a silver medal at the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships in the featherweight division.

This achievement is especially impressive considering the level of competition at the World Taekwondo Championships.

It requires a tremendous amount of skill and dedication to reach the level of expertise necessary to win a medal at the Championships. Hatice Kübra İlgün is likely a role model for aspiring taekwondo practitioners in Turkey and around the world.

She serves as a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Her success is a great source of inspiration for those looking to pursue taekwondo as a sport, and her story is sure to encourage others to strive for the highest level of excellence.

12. Yasmani Copello

Yasmani Copello Escobar is an impressive athlete. Born in Cuba, he has represented Turkey on the international stage in track and field, specifically as a hurdler.

His greatest achievement to date is his personal best in the 400 metres hurdles, which he set in 2018 at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin. His time of 47.81 seconds is a testament to his skill and hard work, and marks him out as a world-class athlete.

He has achieved a great deal in his career and continues to strive to reach new heights in his field. He is a true inspiration for athletes everywhere, and his successes are something to be celebrated.

13. Hakan Reçber

Hakan Reçber is a highly successful Turkish taekwondo athlete. He has achieved impressive success in the sport, winning a gold medal in the men’s bantamweight event at the 2023 World Taekwondo Championships held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

This victory is the latest in a long list of accomplishments for Reçber, who is also an Olympic bronze medalist in the Men’s 68 kg competition. His bronze medal was won at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It was a remarkable achievement for Reçber, who has proven to be one of the top athletes in the world in the sport of taekwondo. His dedication to the sport and commitment to achieving success has paid off and it is clear that Reçber is a true champion.

14. Salih Korkmaz

Salih Korkmaz is a Turkish racewalking athlete who has achieved impressive feats on the international stage. In 2017, he competed in the men’s 20 kilometres walk at the 2017 European Athletics U23 Championships held in Bydgoszcz, Poland and placed fourth.

This performance was a strong indication of his potential to compete at the highest level. Two years later, Salih was selected to represent Turkey at the 2019 World Athletics Championships. Here, he once again competed in the 20 kilometres walk event and placed fifth.

This result solidified his status as one of the best racewalking athletes in the world. Salih Korkmaz has demonstrated his ability to consistently perform at a high level.

His results at the European Athletics U23 Championships and World Athletics Championships are a testament to his dedication and hard work.

He has shown that he can compete with the best racewalkers in the world and is undoubtedly a name to watch out for in future international competitions.

15. Şahin Şenoduncu

Şahin Şenoduncu is a talented Turkish racewalking athlete who has achieved great success in the sport. In 2019, he participated in the Balkan Race Walking Championship held in Alexandroupoli, Greece, where he won a silver medal.

His success continued in 2021 when he won the championship at the Balkan Race Walking Championship in Antalya, Turkey. His impressive performance at both events highlighted his remarkable talent and commitment to the sport.

His success has also been a great source of pride for the Turkish people, who have rallied behind him throughout his career.

It is clear that Şenoduncu is an elite athlete and a fierce competitor, and his accomplishments have helped to raise the profile of Turkish racewalking athletes around the world.

16. Rukiye Yıldırım

Rukiye Yıldırım is an accomplished Turkish taekwondo practitioner who has achieved European championship success in the finweight division. She is currently pursuing her graduate studies in the School of Sports Science at Selçuk University in Konya.

Rukiye’s journey in taekwondo began in 2002 when she joined the Kanka Taekwondo S.K. in Ankara. She is coached by Hızır Pınaroğlu, who has been instrumental in helping her hone her skills and reach her potential.

With his guidance, she has achieved great success in the sport, proving to be a formidable opponent in the finweight division. Rukiye’s accomplishments are a testament to her dedication and hard work, and she continues to strive for greatness.

Her skill and expertise in taekwondo have earned her the respect of her peers and coaches, and she is well on her way to becoming a taekwondo legend.

17. Yavuz Agrali

Yavuz Ağralı is an impressive Turkish long-distance running athlete who is set to represent his country at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Born in eastern Turkey on the 9th of April, 1992 in Bingöl, Ağralı is a member of the Zeytinburnu Beştelsiz S.C. located in Istanbul.

This club is dedicated to supporting and training athletes who compete in marathons and other long-distance events. Throughout his career, Ağralı has had a great amount of success in the marathon.

In 2018 he placed first in the Güzeltepe 10K, and in 2019 he was successful in the Istanbul Marathon, finishing in fifth place.

This success has earned him a spot to represent Turkey in the 2020 Olympics. Ağralı has trained hard to prepare for the Olympic marathon and is determined to do his best for his country and team.

It is clear that his dedication and hard work have paid off, and he is now ready to make a mark on the world stage. With the support of his team and country, he is sure to make an impact at the 2020 Olympics.

18. Busenaz Sürmeneli

Busenaz Sürmeneli is a Turkish athlete who has achieved success in boxing at both the Olympic and world level. She is a current world champion and has won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

She started boxing in 2006 and has since won numerous international titles including the European Women’s Lightweight Boxing Championship in 2011 and the World Women’s Light Flyweight Boxing Championship in 2018.

She has also won multiple Turkish national championships and has represented Turkey in international tournaments such as the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, the European Women’s Boxing Championships, and the European Games. Busenaz Sürmeneli has made a name for herself in the boxing world with her impressive record of achievements.

She is an inspiration to many young athletes in her home country and is a role model for aspiring boxers. Her dedication to her sport and her commitment to success is admirable. She is a testament to the power of hard work and determination.

19. Buse Naz Çakıroğlu

Buse Naz Çakıroğlu is a professional Turkish boxer who has been a dominant force in the sport since the start of her career. She is a two-time world champion and holds the record for the most consecutive wins in the women’s lightweight division.

She is known for her quick reflexes, powerful punches, and strong defense.Çakıroğlu has won numerous international boxing tournaments, including the AIBA women’s world championship.

She has also been the recipient of the Turkish Sports Writers Association’s “Best Female Athlete” award in 2013. She is widely considered to be one of the best female boxers in the world.Çakıroğlu has also been a role model for young boxers in Turkey.

She has been featured in numerous magazines and television shows, and has been awarded the “Türkiye’nin En Büyük Kadın Sporcusu” award (Turkey’s Greatest Female Athlete) for her inspiring story of overcoming adversity to become one of the world’s best female boxers. In addition to her athletic achievements, Çakıroğlu is also a dedicated philanthropist.

She has been involved in numerous charities, including the Buse Naz Çakıroğlu Foundation, which focuses on helping underprivileged youth in Turkey. Her commitment to helping others has made her an idol and role model for young people in Turkey and around the world.

20. Mete Gazoz

Mete Gazoz is an accomplished Turkish recurve archer.

He has won numerous awards and medals throughout his career, and most recently, has taken home the gold medal in the men’s individual event at the 2020 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. Gazoz first made an impact on the Olympic stage when he qualified and represented Turkey at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Although he did not win a medal at this event, his impressive performance has since helped propel him to the title of Olympic champion. Gazoz has been dedicated to the sport of archery for many years, and his hard work and commitment has been rewarded with success at the highest level.

His victory at the 2020 Summer Olympics has made a huge impact on the Turkish archery community, and is a testament to the talent and determination of this skilled athlete.

21. Uğur Aktaş

Uğur Aktaş is a highly accomplished Turkish karateka who has achieved great success in the sport.

He has earned the title of European champion in the kumite 84 kg division, and more recently, he won one of the bronze medals in the men’s 75 kg event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Uğur Aktaş is part of İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi S.K., a sports club in Istanbul, Turkey. This club is well known for its successful athletes in a variety of sports, and Uğur Aktaş is one of them. His success in karate is a testament to his hard work and dedication.

He has inspired many people in Turkey, and around the world, with his achievements. Uğur Aktaş is an athlete to be admired and respected, and his accomplishments are a source of pride for the Turkish nation.

22. Nurcan Taylan

Nurcan Taylan is a highly decorated Turkish weightlifter who has achieved immense success in her sport. She is an Olympic, world and European champion, and holds six European and one world record.

Despite her impressive accomplishments, she was recently banned from the sport by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) after testing positive for the anabolic steroid Methandienone.

The IWF’s ban prohibited her from competing in their events for two years, beginning on October 26th, 2011. The use of anabolic steroids is prohibited in weightlifting and many other sports, as they are considered to be performance-enhancing drugs.

While some athletes use them to gain an edge over their competitors, they can also lead to serious health risks. The IWF takes the use of anabolic steroids seriously and has strict guidelines in place for detecting and punishing those who are found to have used them.

Nurcan Taylan has been a respected and successful weightlifter for many years, and her ban was undoubtedly a disappointment to her fans. It also serves as a reminder that the IWF is committed to ensuring that all athletes compete fairly and within the rules of the sport.

While her career as a weightlifter may be over, her legacy as a champion will not soon be forgotten.

23. Yasemin Adar

Yasemin Adar is a Turkish freestyle wrestler who competes in the 76 kg division. She is a two-time world champion and six-time European champion. These titles are a testament to her outstanding skill and dedication to the sport.

Her crowning achievement came in 2020 when she won a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. This remarkable achievement earned her international recognition and put her firmly on the map as one of the world’s greatest female freestyle wrestlers.

Her success is a great inspiration to many aspiring wrestlers, and she has become an icon of the sport.

24. İrem Karamete

İrem Karamete is a remarkable athlete who has made history in the world of Turkish fencing. She is the first Turkish fencer to qualify for the Olympics since 1984, competing in the foil event at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

This remarkable accomplishment was achieved despite the fact that she was only 17 years old at the time.

Karamete has faced formidable opponents throughout her career, making her success at the Olympics even more impressive. Karamete’s success is not only a testament to her hard work and dedication to the sport, but also a representation of the progress that Turkish fencing has made since 1984.

In the 32 years since the last Turkish fencer qualified for the Olympics, the sport has grown in popularity and Karamete’s success is a testament to this.

Karamete has inspired other fencers to push themselves to reach the same level of success, and her success at the Olympics has given her the platform to do so. Overall, İrem Karamete’s remarkable achievement at the 2016 Summer Olympics is a testament to her hard work and dedication to the sport of fencing.

She has become an inspiration to other Turkish fencers, and her success has brought a renewed sense of pride and enthusiasm to the sport in Turkey.

Karamete’s success is a celebration of the progress that Turkish fencing has made since 1984, and is a reminder of the importance of hard work and dedication.

25. Ferhat Arıcan


Ferhat Arıcan is a Turkish artistic gymnast who achieved a historic feat in 2020. He represented Turkey at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games, and at the latter became the first Turkish gymnast to win an Olympic medal.

This medal came in the form of a bronze on the parallel bars event, marking a major milestone in Turkish gymnastics history. Arıcan’s performance in 2020 is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the sport.

As a Turkish athlete, his success was a source of pride and joy to his country. He has now become a role model to aspiring Turkish gymnasts, inspiring them to reach their full potential.

Arıcan’s Olympic medal is a reminder of the great heights that can be reached when one is driven by passion and commitment.

26. Kazım Ayvaz

Kazım Ayvaz was a remarkable athlete who achieved great success in the world of sports. He was a Turkish Olympic medalist wrestler in the lightweight class and a trainer.

At the 1964 Olympics, he won the gold medal in Men’s Greco-Roman wrestling, becoming the first Turkish wrestler to claim an Olympic gold medal. In addition to this impressive feat, Ayvaz also became world champion twice throughout the course of his career.

His accomplishments were lauded by both the public and the international wrestling community. Ayvaz was born in 1942 in the village of Çayırlı in Erzincan, Turkey, and his love of wrestling began at a young age.

Growing up, he was determined to make a name for himself in the sport, and his dedication paid off. He competed in numerous tournaments and won a number of awards, including the Ankara University Championship and the Istanbul Championship.

His success in the sport eventually led him to the 1964 Olympics, where he became the first Turkish wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling. Ayvaz’s achievements earned him a place in the Turkish Wrestling Hall of Fame and the International Wrestling Hall of Fame.

He also received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including the Order of Merit and Golden Honor Medal from the Turkish government. After his retirement from competitive wrestling, Ayvaz continued to work as a trainer and mentor.

He was an inspiration to many aspiring wrestlers and, in his honor, the Kazım Ayvaz Wrestling Championship was established in Ankara, Turkey in 2010. Kazım Ayvaz was a true champion, both in and out of the ring.


The best Olympic athletes in Turkey have proven their athleticism and dedication to their sports. Their talent and hard work have earned them a place among the world’s best athletes.

With continued determination and dedication, these athletes have the potential to continue to bring home medals for Turkey in the future.

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Matt Reynolds

As a sports journalist and news reporter, my passion lies in covering Olympic sports and bringing the excitement of these events to readers around the world. With extensive experience in sports reporting, I have developed a deep understanding of the intricacies and dynamics of various Olympic disciplines. My goal as a journalist is to provide accurate, insightful, and engaging coverage of Olympic sports. From capturing the triumphs and challenges of athletes to analyzing their performances and strategies, I strive to deliver comprehensive stories that resonate with sports enthusiasts. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, I aim to go beyond mere reporting by delving into the human stories behind the athletes. By highlighting their journeys, sacrifices, and aspirations, I seek to create meaningful connections between readers and the world of Olympic sports. Whether it's track and field, swimming, gymnastics, or any other Olympic sport, I am dedicated to delivering timely news updates, captivating features, and thought-provoking analysis. Through my writing, I aim to inspire readers with the incredible feats accomplished by athletes on the global stage. Join me on this exhilarating journey as we dive into the world of Olympic sports together. Let's celebrate athleticism at its finest while uncovering compelling stories that showcase both triumphs and tribulations. Together, we can experience firsthand the thrill of sporting excellence in all its glory through my dedicated coverage as a passionate sports journalist and news reporter specializing in Olympic sports.