Euro 2016 squads Group D : Turkey

Turkey

Turkey struggled initially in qualifying but Fatih Terim stuck to his methods and this is an exciting side which prefers the 4-2-3-1 system.

STRENGTHS

Attacking midfield, where players such as Arda Turan, Hakan Calhanoglu, Oguzhan Ozyakup and Yunus Malli are all options.

WEAKNESSES

Central defence is not an area where Terim is spoilt for choice, often preferring to play the defensive midfielder Mehmet Topal there having decided not to call up Omer Toprak.

THE LONG SHOTS

In the centre of the park, Selcuk Inan comes in at 7.0 after starting all but one of the qualifiers. The Galatasaray man has since been named in the first XI in only three of the subsequent friendlies, though, as Terim chops and changes his options. Providing he can retain his regular role, Inan’s all-round style of play seems more suited – he sits in the top four for shots and key passes and also takes a top two spot for successful tackles and interceptions in the qualifiers.

Volkan Sen looks to have emerged as a more secure option in recent friendlies and has started three of the last four. Named in the first XI in only four of the qualifiers, he comes in at just 5.5 in the Uefa game, suggesting he has the potential to emerge as an under the radar pick for our five-man midfields.

Goalkeepers: Harun Tekin (Bursaspor), Onur Kıvrak (Trabzonspor), Volkan Babacan (İstanbul Başakşehir).

Defenders: Gökhan Gönül (Fenerbahçe), Şener Özbayraklı (Fenerbahçe), Ahmet Çalık (Gençlerbirliği), Hakan Balta (Galatasaray), Mehmet Topal (Fenerbahçe), Semih Kaya (Galatasaray), Caner Erkin (Fenerbahçe), İsmail Köybaşı (Beşiktaş).

Midfielders: Emre Mor (Nordsjælland), Volkan Şen (Fenerbahçe), Hakan Çalhanoğu (Bayer Leverkusen), Nuri Şahin (Borussia Dortmund), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Beşiktaş), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahçe), Selçuk İnan (Galatasaray), Arda Turan (Barcelona), Olcay Şahan (Beşiktaş).

Forwards: Burak Yılmaz (Beijing Guoan), Cenk Tosun (Beşiktaş), Yunus Mallı (Mainz).

Turkey midfieldersOzan Tufan Young talent
  • Club Fenerbahce
  • Age 21
  • Caps 23
  • Goals 1
The only ever-present in Turkey’s 10 qualification games, despite critics calling him overweight. Moved to Fenerbahçe for €7m last summer, having made his international debut against Ireland in May 2014. In the build-up to the tournament Tufan’s mother co-starred with five other international players’ mothers in a Turkish Airlines promo, cooking an in-flight meal for her son.
Selçuk İnan
  • Club Galatasaray
  • Age 31
  • Caps 51
  • Goals 8
Star of his own Beckham-versus-Greece moment: an 89th-minute free-kick against Iceland in October 2015 which secured qualification. İnan – best friends since boyhood with striker Burak Yilmaz – played at every youth level for Turkey before his full debut in 2007 against Moldova, but was suspended for Euro 2008, and fell out with former manager Abdullah Avcı during 2014’s World Cup qualifying campaign. He is Fatih Terim’s vice-captain, though.
Oğuzhan Özyakup
  • Club Besiktas
  • Age 23
  • Caps 19
  • Goals 1
Arsenal academy product “Ozzy” left London in 2012 with limited highlights: a cameo in the League Cup against Shrewsbury, and a place on the bench for the 8-2 mauling by Manchester United. But at Beşiktaş he has grown in stature, and adds much to the national side’s creativity and threat from free-kicks. Last year the former Turkey international Rıdvan Dilmen called him “a wizard”, compared him to Zinedine Zidane and mused: “Did he come from outer space?”
Nuri Şahin
  • Club Borussia Dortmund
  • Age 27
  • Caps 48
  • Goals 2
Now well-recovered from his six-month loan at Liverpool in 2012, when Brendan Rodgers called him “a great technician”, then played him out of position at No10. When Şahin left he told the press: “I asked why he was playing me there. He could not answer. Thank God I left Brendan Rodgers.” Now a respected operator at Dortmund, and a reliable national team member since his debut in 2005. He married his cousin in 2007, and is fluent in five languages.
Hakan ÇalhanoğluMaverick
  • Club Bayer Leverkusen
  • Age 22
  • Caps 18
  • Goals 6
German-born dead ball specialist, who found his form at club level at just the right time for France. Has spent his whole club career in Germany – playing for Karlsruher, Hamburg and Leverkusen, who paid €14.5m for him in 2014. Was caught up in Turkey’s infamous 2013 “hotel incident” when teammate Gökhan Töre and an armed friend invaded the hotel room he was sharing with Ömer Toprak to threaten Toprak at gunpoint in a “row over a woman”. After an extended ”bad atmosphere” over the death threats, Çalhanoğlu made up with Töre in 2015.
Arda Turan Legend
  • Club Barcelona
  • Age 29
  • Caps 90
  • Goals 17
Captain, leader, legend. Rated The Guardian’s 78th best player in the world last year – the only Turkish player in the top 100 – down 40 places on 2014 due to Barcelona’s transfer embargo limiting his playing time. Turkey’s Euro 2008 star joined Barça for an initial €34m last summer, and made his debut in January, but restricted chances and inconsistent form since then has led to links with Arsenal. He says he’ll stay patient, though. “I’m relaxed. I’ve been playing 40 to 50 games every season for a long time. Now I have some time to myself.” He overcame swine flu in 2009, collects sports cars, and features on the cover of the Turkish Fifa 15
Volkan Şen
  • Club Fenerbahce
  • Age 28
  • Caps 16
  • Goals 0
Known by fans as “an emotional guy”. In 2010, two days before a vital league game, he flew ten hours to New York to visit his girlfriend, then ten hours back again. Bursaspor fined and banned him. In 2013 he walked off a pitch in tears after fans insulted his recently deceased mother. Coach Mustafa Akçay backed him, calling it an “understandable emotional collapse” in response to the abuse; chairman İbrahim Hacıosmanoğlu did not: “Swearing is unacceptable, but walking off was childish.” Şen made his Turkey debut in 2010, and is a useful option on the wing.
Olcay Şahan
  • Club Besiktas
  • Age 29
  • Caps 23
  • Goals 2
Squad joker, good in press conferences. German born, he made his breakthrough at MSV Duisburg, earned a move to Kaiserslautern then to Turkey with Beşiktaş for €800,000 in 2012. Former Turkey manager Abdullah Avcı called him up for the first time in March 2013, while Fatih Terim included him in 2014 World Cup qualifying. A quick-witted, free-scoring left-winger with his own website, olcaysahan.com featuring inspirational quotes for fans, including: “Ours is a love story. A little like a black and white film.”
Emre Mor
  • Club Nordsjealland
  • Age 18
  • Caps 1
  • Goals 0
Europe’s current most coveted youngster. Nordsjaelland’s Denmark-born teenager scored a Messi-worthy goal against Copenhagen in March, which didn’t go unnoticed by Fatih Terim. Full of quality and pace, he could provide a spark from the bench in France. Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all had him watched. Mor says his decision to play for Turkey, not Denmark, was personal, and denied his mother made him do it. “I decided. I talked to my agent and I decided. It wasn’t my mother. I’m old enough to say for myself.”
Turkey defendersGökhan Gönül
  • Club Fenerbahce
  • Age 31
  • Caps 56
  • Goals 1
The “Turkish Cafu”, and a reported target for West Ham. Turkey’s No1 international right-back for almost a decade, solid in defence and creative going forward. He was injured for Turkey’s last European Championships, in 2008, which he says left him experiencing “a passionate sadness – and a renewed dream”. He was cleared of wrongdoing in April after a pain-killing injection for a broken rib triggered a positive doping test.
Şener Özbayraklı
  • Club Fenerbahce
  • Age 26
  • Caps 7
  • Goals 0
Long-term understudy to Gönül, but has five years on him, so can expect more chances after France. The son of a biology teacher, he scored an eye-catching screamer against Akhisar Belediyespor in March, and went viral. One fan tweeted: “Breaking: Özbayraklı appointed National Defence Minister due to expertise with missiles.” Says his hero is Dani Alves.
Hakan Kadir Balta Defensive mainstay
  • Club Galatasaray
  • Age 33
  • Caps 45
  • Goals 2
Known for two things: defensive reliability, and for being caught smoking in cafes by paparazzi. Balta brings plenty of experience as one of three survivors from Euro 2008, with Mehmet Topal and Arda Turan. Joined Galatasaray from Manisaspor in 2007, winning four Süper Liga titles. Wife Derya is a Turkish social media icon, constantly sharing “our lovely moments”.
Ahmet Çalık
  • Club Gençlerbirliği
  • Age 21
  • Caps 3
  • Goals 0
Young, but not shy. Was at the centre of a row in January over reports that he had phoned the Gençlerbirliği president Ilhan Cavcav to demand he sacked coach Yilmaz Vural. Cavcav went ahead and sacked Cavcav, telling the press: “It had to happen. The most important factor in my decision was the opinion of my players.” Çalık made his Turkey debut last year against Greece.
Mehmet Topal Unsung hero
  • Club Fenerbahce
  • Age 30
  • Caps 58
  • Goals 1
Defensive stalwart, nicknamed Spider in honour of his long legs. He played all but one game in the Euro 2008 semi-final run. Has spent most of his career with Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, but had two years in La Liga with Valencia from 2010. Last year he escaped two armed attacks unhurt – once when the Fenerbahçe bus was shot at after a Süper Lig match, and again four months later when bullet-proof glass on his car protected him and a youth teamer from injury. Lives a high-profile life: he and wife Selda are one of Turkish football’s top celebrity couples.
Caner Erkin
  • Club Fenerbahce
  • Age 27
  • Caps 46
  • Goals 2
Left-back full of self-belief who joined CSKA Moscow for £3.5m in 2007, then moved to Fenerbahce via Galatasaray in 2010. Made his Turkey debut aged 17 in a friendly against Ghana. His build-up to the Euros has been mixed: after a row with manager Vitor Pereira he was banned from training for “low sporting morals and behaviour”, and spent May following his own fitness programme. Out of contract this summer, has been in talks with Internazionale.

İsmail Köybaşı

  • Club Besiktas
  • Age 26
  • Caps 18
  • Goals 0
Providing cover for Caner Erkin at left-back – or maybe more, depending on the Fenerbahçe man’s fitness. Köybaşı joined Beşiktaş in a €6.5m part-exchange, and provided the assist for Rodrigo Tello’s goal at Old Trafford in 2009 – United’s first home defeat in 24 European matches. He won his first Turkey cap in August that year, and says his hobbies are: “Relaxing, reading books and loving music. I really don’t lead an extravagant life.”
Semih Kaya
  • Club Galatasaray
  • Age 25
  • Caps 23
  • Goals 0
Has been with Galatasaray since he was 15, and recovered from a serious head injury in 2007, to force his way into Galatasaray’s first team, and later, the national team.
Turkey forwardsBurak Yılmaz Main goalscorer
  • Club Beijing Guoan
  • Age 30
  • Caps 43
  • Goals 19
Two-time top scorer in the Turkish Super League, veteran of all four big clubs – Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, Trabzonspor and Galatasaray – and Turkey’s No1 striker for years. Now he’s “The King of Beijing” in China’s Super League. When he joined Beijing Guoan on a reported €8m a year deal in February he told the Turkish press he was feeling “complex, conflicting emotions… both sadness, and great joy”. Rivals fans like to criticise him for being too quick to tumble in the box, with various online gifs showing him being blown over by the wind.
Cenk Tosun
  • Club Besiktas
  • Age 25
  • Caps 9
  • Goals 3
A professional supersub – deputy to Mario Gomez at Beşiktaş, and to Yılmaz for Turkey. “I don’t give up, though,” he says. “I am learning from the best.” The German-born forward scored a hattrick on his Beşiktaş Süper Lig debut in 2014 having signed from Gaziantepspor, and made his Turkey debut in 2013. Fatih Terim turned up at his celebrity wedding in May, leaving Turkish press impressed by “so many guests from the sporting, art and business worlds”.
Yunus Mallı
  • Club Mainz
  • Age 24
  • Caps 5
  • Goals 0
A lively No10, No8 or false 9 – Mallı brings much-valued versatility. German born to Turkish parents, he played at four youth levels for Germany but chose Turkey at senior level last year, saying: “I listened to the sound of my heart”. Mainz signed him from Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2011 and rejected a €13m bid from Dortmund in January because “the timing is not right… he’s vital to our chemistry”. Has also been linked with Tottenham and Galatasaray.

Turkey goalkeepers

Volkan Babacan No1 goalkeeper
  • Club İstanbul Başakşehir
  • Age 27
  • Caps 16
  • Goals 0
Was gifted No1 status in 2014 after regular first choice Volkan Demirel’s “Kazakhstan moment” – the Fenerbahçe keeper reacting to a group of Galatarasay fans swearing at him during the warm-up for a Euro 2016 qualifier by storming off the pitch and refusing to come back. Babacan has kept the gloves since, and starred in Başakşehir’s win over Fenerbahce in May, saving a Robin van Persie penalty. Former international Rüştü Reçber called his performances “riveting”.
Onur Kivrak
  • Club Trabzonspor
  • Age 28
  • Caps 12
  • Goals 0
Nicknamed “Butterfly” for his agility; loves to please the cameras. The Trabzonspor captain, who recovered from a cruciate ligament injury in 2014, has almost as many caps as Volkan Babacan, but will be his deputy in France. Often criticised for being suspect under mental pressure. In April he carefully placed his shirt and gloves on the grass after a lively Fenerbahce match and walked away, saying “I’m done”. He later apologised to fans “for any misinterpretation”.
Harun Tekin
  • Club Bursaspor
  • Age 26
  • Caps 0
  • Goals 0
Not to be confused with the Turkish alternative rock star of the same name. Tekin was called into the national side for the first time in 2015, and is considered a sound third choice keeper – though there were plenty for Fatih Terim to choose from. Tolga Zengin (Beşiktaş), Mert Akyuz (Adanaspor) and Muammer Yildirim (Mersin Idmanyurdu) all had claims for a squad place.

Profiles written by Ugur Meleke