Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu said that Turkey had facilities that competed with the most developed countries in the world.

Speaking at the “National Sports and Health Days for All” event held in Ankara on the occasion of the European Week of Sports, Minister Kasapoğlu expressed his wishes for the entire world to pull through COVID-19 pandemic and such events to be held with greater attendance. He also thanked the Federation of Sports For All and everyone else who contributed in such a beautiful event despite all the disadvantages of the pandemic.

Stating that it was of particular importance during the pandemic that sports, activity, health and well-being prevail, as well as the environment for a habitable world such consciousness, Minister Kasapoğlu said:

“The European Week of Sports and this event show us that we should be active not only for a day or for a week, but every day. It shows us that sports should be a lifestyle for each of us. These kinds of efforts aimed at spreading such awareness and consciousness are very important to each of us. As the Ministry, we support these studies with all our strength. We are all going through a pandemic, during which we have realized that exercising and staying active are a very critical lifestyle”. 

Minister Kasapoğlu reminded that experts always said how important our immunity was in combatting the virus and how important exercising was for our immunity, and further added, “That’s why each passing day, we understand better how important leading an active life is”.

“Our aim is to facilitate access to exercise for our nation”

Indicating that they urged the public to stay home for a while but also encouraged them to exercise with the motto ‘Stay home, stay active’, Minister Kasapoğlu added:

“Today, we are more aware that we will overcome the disadvantages of sedentariness by being active and through exercise. Our efforts made in this regard are getting more and more important each passing day. Thank God we are all here today; we are here and definitely wearing our masks, keeping our distance and taking care of our hygiene. We are here to give the message that exercise has no boundaries and that we can work out under any conditions. As you can see, we have renewed this facility for our beloved city, Ankara. We also have other works underway. Our aim is to facilitate access to exercise for our nation. To remove the barriers and excuses to exercising. And to make exercise a lifestyle for everybody and a part of their day”.

“Young or old, female or male, with or without disability, we have no buts when it comes to exercise”

Stating that everybody was aware how the world was putting up a fight with the pandemic, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “We are an exemplary country in terms of our fight against the pandemic thanks to the vision and strong leadership of our President in the last 18 years, our assertiveness in every area, and the perseverance of our people. These are the days that we will get through together hand in hand and in solidarity”. 

Explaining that the public needed to be more active and more sensitive towards the environment and nature from now on, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “We will be individuals that consider conscious consumption and having a healthy body as indispensable. In this sense, we will know that being active can be achieved through different exercises, including walking and cycling, we will improve ourselves and walk towards the future. We say exercise is for everyone. The name of our federation is ‘Sports for All’. Young or old, female or male, with or without disability, we have no buts when it comes to exercise”.

“We have facilities that compete with the most developed countries in the world”

Pointing out that Turkey developed a lot in terms of sports infrastructure, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “This is why this sports campaign, this mission, this light started by our President in Istanbul during his office as a mayor, has turned into an important campaign. All across our country, we now have facilities that compete with the most developed countries in the world, in not only football but all branches. We have an infrastructure of facilities that challenges the world in all branches, be it swimming or winter sports”. 

During the opening of the sports facility, Minister Kasapoğlu said that women were the most welcome guests of the facility and added, “We are working towards how to make the most of the infrastructure of this facility with our people, our young population and women. With the understanding that women are the firsts of the society, we have a project called, ‘women pioneers of sports’. As members of this society and as mothers and wives, our women, we believe that women’s pioneering role in sports is an important milestone in our policy of popularizing sports among the public”. 

Indicating that, after popularizing sports among the public, their next project involved guiding individuals based on their performance and skills, Minister Kasapoğlu noted, “Just like our achievements in the year 2019, we believe that the future will be a strong one with ambitious Turkish athletes and teams in all branches winning medals, becoming champions and proudly waving the glorious Turkish flag all around the world”.

“We will look for talented young people in all branches and guide them to sports”

Indicating that they believed the skills project would bring so many achievements, Minister Kasapoğlu said: 

“Look at all the projects we have launched. We have set up 10 thousand basketball hoops. Our young population no longer needs to try different methods and make hoops with their own means. We will provide them with all the means so that they can take active part in sports. Our young people are our greatest hope. With a young population of 20 million, Turkey is among the countries that have the youngest population in the world. So, the talent scouting project we launched in primary schools has been delayed this year due to the pandemic, but it will continue nonstop. We will look for talented young people in every branch, direct them to sports, and we believe that, we will accomplish great things through this project”.

“We aim to teach swimming to anyone who wants to learn it”

Indicating that they were making efforts to make sure everybody learned how to swim, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “We have wanted to make sure everybody knows how to swim in a country that has this many water resources and has been provided with lots of swimming pools all around. So, it is our ideal to teach swimming to anyone who wants to learn it. Hopefully, in the coming period, we will achieve our target for this year to teach 1 million people how to swim and exceed this target despite the pandemic. We are assertive about this target. We have swimming pools all around Turkey and we are building more”. 

Regarding pool constructions, Minister Kasapoğlu said, “We have recently opened the swimming pool in Ümraniye. We have an ongoing pool construction in Eyüp Sultan, and we will lay the foundations of another one in Gaziosmanpaşa in the coming days. Last week, we opened a highly modern olympic pool in Sivas. In the coming days, we will be opening an excellent pool in Gaziantep. Right next to this facility you see here today, the project of an excellent pool is about to be completed, and we are planning to lay its foundations. This summer, we have set up 100 portable pools in areas that have no pools so that we can make sure that our young people have contact with water and we can teach them how to swim despite the pandemic”. 

“We have signed agreements with foundation universities for athlete scholarships so that sport is integrated into education”

Regarding integration of sport into education, Minister Kasapoğlu said:

“We have signed agreements with foundation universities for athlete scholarships so that sport is integrated into education. Hopefully, together, we will take our ambition in sports to another level with our athletes that put their effort into both sports and their classes. We believe that the aspect of sports that elevates and rehabilitates the spirit will have an important mission and meaning in the strong Turkey of tomorrows. Autumn and winter are ahead. These seasons come with adverse weather conditions. But we think that no adverse condition is a barrier to exercise. So, we expect you to come here for walks, for autumn walks. This area has turned out to be beautiful, and we are looking forward to see you here. Lt’s take this week, the European Week of Sports, as an opportunity to make a start for a strong immune system and well-being. Together, let’s start working out today, wearing our masks, keeping our distance and following hygiene rules. Our facilities are always at service of our nation. Our facilities are open 24/7 to serve our people”.

“We are also ambitious in sports tourism”

Minister Kasapoğlu said, “Our facilities belong to not only our nation, but also athletes coming here from all over the world. We are also ambitious in sports tourism. Indeed, our facilities have quite the competitiveness. Our country will be an important destination in sports tourism in the near future. I believe we will accomplish this together”.

Minister Kasapoğlu gave a start to activities of the European Week of Sports in 81 cities through videocall

Following the speech, Minister Kasapoğlu and his entourage gave a start to activities of the European Week of Sports in 81 cities through videocall. Minister Kasapoğlu connected to Sivas and Gaziantep and explained the importance of sports activities to those sports fans over there. Later, waving to the sports fans, he gave a start to the activities in 81 cities through videocall.

Later, Minister Kasapoğlu visited the stands of sports federations and took souvenir photos with athletes participating in the event. 

As part of the European Week of Sports, the Federation of Sports for All will hold events with the motto “National Sports and Health Days for All” in 81 cities between September 23 and 30, September 2020.

During the event, speeches were followed by sportive performances in folk dances, capoeira, taekwondo, freestyle football-basketball-cycling, and wushu.

The event will later feature pedalcar parkour activity, tug-of-war, sack race, skip rope, Mangala, matrak, arm wrestling, trampoline, hemssball, street chess, floor curling, badminton, dart, squad contest, mini gold, big foot games and other introductory activities from similar sport branches.

From the stage set up in the field in Anıttepe Sports Complex, images received from the cities will be showed via cinevision screening throughout the day.