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Letters to Euro 2008 (Download PDF) 6/6/2008

Turkish Football Federation published a book named "Letters to 2008", containing the opinions of Turkish national team players and coaches regarding the forthcoming Euro 2008 Championship. Turkish and English version of the book is available.

In addition to the TFF President Mr. Hasan Dogan's article, the book allocated two pages for each member of the national team. Opinions with each member's own handwriting, photos and historical backgrounds are also included.

The exact texts included in the book are as follows:

Hasan Doğan

European Football Championship which is the most important football organization in the world after World Cup has another meaning for us this time. After 6 years of absence, our A National Team became one of the best of 16 teams in Europe and gathered a place in another official championship.

I believe that we will be the most colourful and exciting team of the tournament to be organized by Switzerland and Austria with the help of our fans coming from all around Europe and Turkey.

Our team that made us proud by joining this prestigious tournament had the perfect camp by all means in preparation for the tournament. Under the leadership of our National Team Coach Fatih Terim there is great friendship in the team. Our players level of form and will to win shows that they are ready for success in highest level. We know all our players play with a totally different spirit and enthusiasm when they wear the National Team jersey. I am sure that we will get out of this tough European Championship with success.

Not only our team and our citizens living in Turkey but also all the Turks around the world are in unspeakable excitement. In addition to our population of 70 million people, people in Turkish descendant people in Asia, Balkans, Middle East and Europe will be supporting our National Team. I hope and wish that our National Team will be the most exciting team of the tournament and we can make a name for oursoulves there. 

Fatih Terim

Born September 4, 1953 in Adana. Started his football career at Adana Demirspor in 1969. Moved to Galatasaray in 1974 and played there for 10 years, claiming the captaincy. Capped 54 times for Turkey, scoring two goals. He guided the national team as a captain on 35 occasions. Following his retirement, he started his coaching career in 1987 at Ankaragücü. After a spell with İzmir team Göztepe, he was brought in charge of Turkey Under-21 team in 1990. In the meantime, between 1990 and 1993, he was the assistant to then coach Sepp Piontek. Guided Olympic National team to the championship at Mediterranean games in 1993. In October the same year, he became the coach of Turkish National Team. Guided Turkey to their first European Championship after a successful EURO 96 qualifying campaign. Following the end of the finals, he became the coach of Galatasaray. Won four consecutive league titles, two FORTIS Turkish Cup trophies. His successes were crowned after the invaluable UEFA Cup victory in 2000. Same year he accepted and offer from Italian club Fiorentina, then became the coach of AC Milan. Between 2002 and 2004 he worked at Galatasaray once again before finally arriving to the national team in 2005. He made another important achievement by taking Turkey to EURO 2008 finals.

Müfit Erkasap

Born 1957 in Şanlıurfa. Started his career in the youth setup of Galatasaray. Played as a right-back at the senior team between 1974 and 1982. Turned to coaching after his retirement. In 1995 he briefly became the caretaker coach at Galatasaray. Since 1996 he is working together with Fatih Terim. Erkasap was the assistant at Galatasaray when they lifted the UEFA Cup, four consecutive league titles and two FORTIS Turkish Cup titles. He was also with Terim at his spell at Fiorentina and his previous term at the national team.

Oğuz Çetin

Born February 15, 1983 in Sakarya. Started playing football at the youth side of his local club Sakaryaspor in 1978. Promoted to the senior team three years later. After playing for five years there, he joined Fenerbahçe in 1988. Claimed the captaincy in 1991. During his spell at Fenerbahçe, he lifted two league trophies, won one President's Cup and two Prime Minister's Cup. Later, he played for İstanbulspor and Adanaspor where he both stayed for two seasons each. Capped 70 times for his country.
In 2000, his coaching career has started at Fenerbahçe where he shortly worked as a head coach as well. After working at Gençlerbirliği and Diyarbakırspor, he became one of the coaches of the national team.

Metin Tekin

Born May 8, 1964 in Kocaeli. Started football at the youth setup of Kocaelispor and without even playing for the senior side, he directly moved to Beşiktaş. Starting from 1982, he became a regular at the team and shortly became one of the most memorable faces of Beşiktaş. He stayed at Beşiktaş for 15 years, lifting 5 league trophies. After a spell at Vanspor in 1997, he announced his retirement. Capped 34 times for Turkey, scoring two goals. After working as an assistant at Gençlerbirliği and Samsunspor, he became the head coach at Çanakkale Dardanelspor and Altay. Since September 2004, he is working for Turkish national team.

Eser Özaltındere

Born in 1954, Ankara. He studied History of Philosophy at İstanbul University. Has a Masters Degree from Ankara Univerity's Academy of Economic and Administrative Sciences. During his spell at Adana Demirspor, he was called up to the national team. After this, he joined Galatasaray and continued his consistent performances. Capped 8 times for Turkey's senior side and 7 times for Under-21s.
For a long time, worked as a goalkeeping coach at Galatasaray and played a key role for breeding young and talented goalkeepers. Since Fatih Terim's arrival to the national team, he is the goalkeeping coach and also the chief of National Teams Goalkeeping Coaches Department.

Volkan Demirel

Coming through the youth ranks of the team, Volkan turned professional at TFF 2. Division club Kartalspor. In 2002, he joined Fenerbahçe. He wore the Fenerbahçe shirt for the first team at a warm-up match against TSV Dorfen. He made his Turkcell Super League debut for Fenerbahçe on 26 April 2003 against Samsunspor. His first appearance for Turkey's national teams was on 6 September 2001 at Turkey U-20s 2-1 win against Greece in the Mediterranean Cup. He made his senior Turkey debut on 28 April 2004 when Turkey beat Belgium 3-2. After Rüştü Reçber's transfer to Barcelona, he became No1 at Fenerbahçe. Since 2003 he is the first-choice goalkeeper of Fenerbahçe even though he goes to the subs bench time to time.

Rüştü Reçber

After turning professional in 1991 at Antalyaspor, Rüştü joined Fenerbahçe in 1994. Made his Turkcell Super League debut against Petrolofisi the same year. He played his first match for Turkey on 14 December 1994 at his country's 2-1 loss against Switzerland in Ali Sami Yen stadium. Having taken part in EURO 96 and EURO 2000, Rüştü was Turkey's first choice goalkeeper in 2002 FIFA World Cup where Turkey won the third place. After the tournament, he was shown as one of the best goalkeepers in the world along with Oliver Kahn and the following season, he was transferred to FC Barcelona. In 2004, he returned to his former club Fenerbahçe. After his second spell at Fenerbahçe, he moved to Beşiktaş in the beginning of last season. Rüştü Reçber is married to Işıl Reçber; has one daughter and son.

Tolga Zengin

Started playing football at one of Trabzon's leading amateur clubs, Trabzon İdmanocağı in 1995. In 1998, when he was 15 he was transferred to Trabzonspor youth setup. Five years later, he signed his first ever professional contract with Trabzonspor. He made his Trabzonspor debut against Galatasaray on 2 October 2005 at Ali Sami Yen stadium. In that season, Tolga had chances to play but he was more like an understudy to Brazilian goalkeeper Jefferson. Starting from Konyaspor match which dates back to 21 January 2007, he became the first-choice goalkeeper in the team. He wore the national team shirt for the first time on 3 November 1998 against Slovakia for U-15 team and then took part in all other age levels. He made his senior team debut on 12 April 2006 at Turkey's 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan. He was the man in the goal at Turkey's friendly match against Belarus on 26 March 2008.

Sabri Sarıoğlu

Started playing football at Yeni Özkartalspor in 1995. Joined Galatasaray in 1999 and turned professional two years later. Lifted Turkcell Super League trophy at Galatasaray where he came through youth ranks. Played his first ever Turkcell Super League match with Galatasaray against Trabzonspor on 4 May 2003. Wore the national team shirt first time on 27 July 1999 against Moldova for Turkey U-16s and played in all other age levels. He made his senior debut for Turkey at a EURO 2008 qualifier against Hungary on 7 October 2006. He scored his one and only goal for Turkey in the match against Bosnia-Herzegovina which was played at 2 June 2007 and ended with a 3-2 defeat of Turkey.

Gökhan Zan

Turned professional at TFF 2. League side Hatayspor in 1999. One year later, he moved to Dardanelspor where he played for three seasons. During his spell there, he was selected for Turkish youth national teams and caught the eye with his performances. Beşiktaş won the race to get his signature in 2003. He spent 2004/05 season on loan at Gaziantepspor. Returned to Beşiktaş's first team the following year and now he continues his successful play. His international career was launched in 2000 when he played for Turkey U-19 side and he made his senior debut on 2 March 2006 at a friendly against Czech Republic which ended 2-2. Despite experiencing many injury setbacks, he is still regarded as one of the most important figures of Turkish defence.

Emre Aşık

After turning professional at Sönmez Filamentspor, he played for Balıkesirspor, Fenerbahçe, İstanbulspor, Galatasaray, Beşiktaş respectively. He returned to Galatasaray after his spell with Beşiktaş and in the beginning of last season he was sent on loan to capital city club Ankaraspor. He has been playing for Turkey's youth teams since the age of 18. Played his senior international for Turkey at a FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Poland which Turkey beat 2-1 in 27 October 1993. He played a key role at Turkey's qualification to EURO 96, especially with the goal he scored at Turkey's 2-1 win over Sweden. He was one of the members of the squad that won the world third place at 2002 FIFA World Cup. After a long absence from the national side, he celebrated his return at the 4-1 victory over Greece.

Servet Çetin

Turned professional at TFF 2. League side Kartalspor in 1999. Joined Göztepe in 2001 and moved to Turkcell Super League club Denizlispor the following year. His enormous success there earned him a move to Turkish giants Fenerbahçe in 2003. During his three-year spell at the İstanbul club he failed to become one of the regulars of the starting eleven. As a result, he wanted to try his luck with Sivasspor where he succeeded to make a resurgence in 2006. At the beginning of last season, another top team from Turkey, Galatasaray secured the services of Servet following his eye-catching performance at Sivasspor.  He first wore the national team shirt in 1998 for Turkey U-17 team against Romania. Made his Turkey debut six years later in August 18th in the 2-1 defeat by Belarus. Since that date, he is one of the regulars of Turkish national team's defence.

Hakan Kadir Balta

As a product of Hertha Berlin's youth setup, Hakan Balta joined TFF 1. League Vestel Manisaspor in 2003 when he was 20 years old. He made a big contribution to his team's promotion to the top flight. Played his first Turkcell Super League match against Malatyaspor on 13 August 2005. His successful performances at the Aegean club earned him a move to Galatasaray in the beginning of last season. In his first year, he lifted the league trophy.  Hakan made his Turkey debut at a friendly international against Azerbaijan on 12 April 2006. Took part as a left-back in Turkey's critical matches against Norway and Bosnia-Herzegovina which both can be regarded as turning points. After these successful tests, he played against Sweden and Belarus and that makes him the first-choice in the left-back position.

Uğur Boral

Started football at his local club Gaziosmanpaşa Karadenizspor in 1999. Two years later, he turned professional at Alibeyköy. After spells with Kocaelispor, Gençlerbirliği and Ankaraspor, he joined Fenerbahçe in 2006. Played his first Turkcell Super League match against Gençlerbirliği for Kocaelispor on 11 August 2002. In his first year at Fenerbahçe, he lifted the league trophy. He made his Turkey debut on 1 March 2006 in a friendly against Czech Republic. Despite playing seven matches for the national team, he did not take part in a competitive match.

Emre Güngör

Started playing football at Bakırköyspor. Signed for Ankaragücü and turned Professional in 2001. He was loaned out to Türk Telekomspor in 2003 and the following season the move became permanent. In 2004, Ankaragücü re-signed the player and Emre became an important figure at his side's defence. In the mid-season transfer windows last season, Galatasaray secured the services of the player. During the absence of experienced Cameroonian international defender Rigobert Song due to African Cup of Nations, he caught a place in the starting eleven and did not lose his place until the end of the season. In the end, he enjoyed lifting the league trophy in his first year. On 20 February 2001, he played his first match for Turkey at U-15 level. After this, he played for all youth sides of Turkey.

Mehmet Aurelio

While playing for one of Rio's Regional League teams, Olaria, he was discovered by Özkan Sümer, the legendary player, coach and president of Trabzonspor. He spent two seasons there before moving to Fenerbahçe in 2003/04 season. Gained Turkish citizenship in July 2006 and selected "Mehmet" as a first name. After he was granted Turkish citizenship, he was called up to the national team by Fatih Terim. Made his Turkey debut against Turkey's 1-0 win over Luxembourg on 16 August 2006. After this game, he became a regular at Turkey's midfield and played a key role at Turkey's successful EURO 2008 qualifying campaign. Scored his first goal for Turkey against Hungary on 12 September 2007.

Mehmet Topal

Started his career at Malatya Belediyespor in 1999. Three years later, he turned professional by joining Çanakkale Dardanelspor. His rising form at Dardanelspor earned him a move to Galatasaray in September 2006. In his second season with the İstanbul giants, he lifted the Turkcell Super League trophy. He wore the national team shirt for the first time on 25 May 2005 against Switzerland at U-19 level. Later he became a Under-21 international. He made his senior Turkey debut by coming off the subs bench on 78th minute at a friendly against Sweden on 6 February 2008. He was named in the starting eleven against Belarus on 26 March 2008 and played for entire 90 minutes.

Emre Belözoğlu

Started football at Zeytinburnuspor's youth setup. When he was only 16, he signed for Galatasaray in 1996 and managed to find a place at match squads. He tremendously developed his talents and became a member of UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup winning team along with four consecutive league titles. This success earned him a move to Inter in 2001 and Newcastle United in 2005. He played his first national team match at U-15 level with a match against Azerbaijan on 7 December 1994. Made his senior Turkey debut in the 2-0 loss against Norway on 23 February 2000. Played a key role in Turkey's world third place winning team in 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Tümer Metin

Turned professional at Kilimli Belediyespor in 1993. Tümer played at Zonguldakspor between 1994 and 1997. Then he moved to Samsunspor where he stayed until 2001. During his four-year stay at Samsunspor, he showed a consistent performance and this helped him to move to Beşiktaş. He spent 5 seasons at Beşiktaş where he won the league title in their centenary.  Later, he joined Fenerbahçe and enjoyed the same success and became the only Turkish player ever to lift league trophy in a centenary for both clubs. In the mid-season transfer window last season, he joined Greek club Larissa from Fenerbahçe. Made his senior Turkey debut at a relatively delayed date, on 12 February 2003 at a goalless match against Ukraine, five months after playing for Turkey A2s against Germany. Under Fatih Terim's guidance, he made significant contribution to Turkish national team.

Hamit Altıntop

Hamit signed his first professional contract with Wattenscheid in 2000. Like his twin brother Halil, he left Wattenscheid in 2003 but opted to join Schalke 04 instead of Kaiserslautern. After a four year  spell there, he moved to the biggest club in Germany, Bayern München and lifted the league trophy in his first year. Together with his twin brother, he played his first match for Turkish national teams on 14 November 2000 against Bulgaria at U-18 level and scored his first goal in this match. Respectively, he played for other youth teams and made his senior debut against Denmark on 18 February 2004. He used to play as a midfielder but later switched to right-back position. Interestingly, scored his first two goals for Turkey in the same match that were both from free-kicks, in the 2-2 draw against Norway on 28 March 2007.

Ayhan Akman

Having turned professional at Gaziantepspor in 1995, Ayhan moved to Beşiktaş three years later for an almost record-breaking transfer fee. However, he made his breakthrough after joining Galatasaray. First played for Turkey on 12 November 1991 against France at U-15 level. Later on, he respectively took part at all other youth national teams. Ayhan made his senior debut for Turkey against Israel on 18 February 1998. He was a member of Turkey's EURO 2000 finals squad but never found the chance to play. After a five-year break, he made a return to the national team for the match against Albania on 26 March 2005. Gave another two-and-a-half-year break before returning to Turkey squad for the match against Malta on 8 September 2007.

Arda Turan

Started football at Altıntepsi Makelspor before joining the youth setup of Galatasaray in 2000. Two years later, he signed a professional contract with the İstanbul club. He was loaned out to another Super League club Vestel Manisaspor in 2004/05 season. Thanks to a significant performance rise, he returned to Galatasaray the following year, becoming an indispensible player of the team. Played his first match for Turkey at U-16 level at a 4-1 away victory over Romania on 16 July 2002 and scored on his debut. Made his senior Turkey debut in the 1-0 away friendly win against Luxembourg on 16 August 2006. Since this match, he was one of the key players for the national team and he proved this during EURO 2008 qualifying campaign.

Tuncay Şanlı

Started his career at his local club Sakarya TEK Spor in 1999 and only two months later TFF 1. League team Sakaryaspor snapped him up. Fenerbahçe completed the move for the player in 2002. Made his debut for Fenerbahçe against Gaziantepspor on 11 September 2002. Enjoyed three league titles successes at the İstanbul club and wrote his name on the history of Turkish football by scoring three goals against Manchester United at UEFA Champions League which made him the highest goalscoring Turkish player in a Champions League match. In the beginning of last season, he joined English Premier League team, Middlesbrough. He wore the national team shirt for the first time on 22 May 2000 against Belarus at U-17 level. He made his senior Turkey debut on 20 November 2002 against Italy. He was a member of third place winning team at Confederations Cup in 2003.

Kazım Kazım

Kazım started his professional career at English club Bury. At the age of 19, he moved to Brighton Hove & Albion. On 31 August 2006 he signed a three-year contract with Sheffield United. He caught the eye of Turkish national team officials with his successful display at his new club. He was called up to the national team squad for Turkey Under-21's match against Switzerland on 24 March 2007. He played for the entire match, moreover scored a goal. He came off the subs bench on 62nd minute to make his senior Turkey debut at a friendly against Brazil on 5 June 2007. Immediately after this, he was snapped up by Fenerbahçe. Especially, in the second half of 2007/08 season, he found his form and reached the summit of his performance with the goal he scored against Chelsea in UEFA Champions League.

Gökdeniz Karadeniz

Turned professional at Black Sea club Trabzonspor in 1998. Until the mid-season transfer window last season, he continuously and consistently played for the club. He moved to Rubin Kazan for a record-breaking transfer fee of €8.7m, making him the most expensive Turkish player ever. Gökdeniz made a bright start to his career in Russia, scoring consecutive goals and assisting his team-mates. He wore the national team shirt for the first time in the same match with Emre Belözoğlu against Azerbaijan in 1994 at U-15 level. He came off the subs bench to make his senior Turkey debut at the 4-0 defeat by Czech Republic on 30 April 2003.

Nihat Kahveci

Nihat, who is a product of Beşiktaş's youth setup, was promoted to the senior team in 1997/98 season. From this season until 2002 he played 115 league matches, scoring 53 goals. In the summer of 2002, he moved to Spanish club Real Sociedad. Following his first season, he turned into a top marksman and made a lot of contribution for his team's title cause. He picked up several serious injuries but on each occasion he managed to successfully recover. When his contract with Real Sociedad expired, he joined Villarreal on a free transfer. Unlucky Nihat had another serious injury setback here but made a great comeback once again and took his team to UEFA Champions League. Wore the national team colours for the first time on 18 February 1998 for Turkey Under-21s.  Made his Turkey debut on 7 November 2000 against Sweden. The goals he scored for Turkey during EURO 2008 qualifying period helped Turkish National Team to reach the finals.

Semih Şentürk

Semih started his career at one of İzmir's local teams, Özçamdibispor in 1998. One year later, he joined Fenerbahçe. He spent 2001/02 season on loan at TFF 2. League side İzmirspor. Played his first competitive match for Fenerbahçe on 17 February 2001 against Siirt JETPA Spor. Despite the fact that he is much regarded as a substitute striker as he is famous with the goals he scored after coming off the subs bench, he became the top goalscorer of Turkcell Super League with 17 goals last season. Semih wore the national team shirt for the first time on 8 June 1999 against Romania at U-15 level and played at all levels of youth teams. He was named in the starting eleven against Norway on 17 November 2007 and that was the senior Turkey debut of the player. This was followed by another start against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Mevlüt Erdinç

Mevlüt started his career in the youth setup of French club Sochaux. At the age of 19, he started to play at Ligue 1. He was selected for France U-17 squad for the Meridian Cup in 2005. During the tournament held in Kuşadası, he received an offer from Turkey which he later accepted. Born to parents originally from Yozgat, Mevlüt is one of the eight children of the family. Left his native Lyon to go Sochaux when he was 14 to be a football player. He was one of the most striking players of French league thanks to the goals he scored last season. He wore the national team shirt of Turkey for the first time on 25 May 2005 against Switzerland at U-19 level and scored on his debut. When he won his first U-21 cap against Georgia, he scored once again. His senior debut just came last March when Turkey played a friendly against Belarus.


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