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Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK

Turkish media says thanks

By BBC Monitoring
in Caversham

The Turkish newspapers were celebrating after the national team beat South Korea to take third place in the World Cup on Saturday.

The website of daily newspaper Sabah summed up the general mood, singling out Hakan Sukur for "writing his name in football history" with the fastest-ever World Cup goal.

"We became one of the teams which played the best football. The whole world applauded us. We deserved gold but settled for bronze," Milliyet newspaper's website added under the headline "They made history".

" Our Korean friends gave a perfect lesson in fair play - the images of friendship were incredible "
Milliyet website

Hurriyet maintained the theme: "You made your mark in history. By beating the home team, our team came third."

It was "a dream come true. Our team wrote a legend. They played wonderfully."

Victory and Hakan Sukur's record goal made it "double joy for the Turkish team".

Another paper, Aksam, was grateful. "Thank you. You are great. We achieved third in the world. Thank you national team."

Thousands of Turkish supporters turned Istanbul's Taksim Square into a party venue, the Radikal website said.

Fans watching the match in the cafes around the square poured into the streets to celebrate.

They were wearing the Turkish team colours, waving their flags and red-and-white balloons, singing victory songs and chanting slogans.

Hurriyet predicted "there will be a magnificient ceremony at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (when the team returns).

"Federation chairman Haluk Ulusoy will make a speech, signed football strips of the team will be handed out and internationally known Turkish pop star Tarkan will be present."

Milliyet was full of praise for the South Korean supporters.

"Our Korean friends gave a perfect lesson in fair play. The images of friendship were incredible," it said.

"You could see huge Turkish and South Korean flags spread together. Good moves were applauded from the Turkish team or Korean team. The friendly atmosphere continued even after the match.

"Players of both teams were saluting the crowds hand in hand, arm in arm. Such friendliness brought tears to the eyes of our footballers."

Milliyet quoted the Turkish President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, as saying: "This happy result gives us hope for the future. It provides morale and strength to our nation.

"It also shows us that, if Turkey works in a systematic way, as the soccer team did, Turkey will take its place among the most powerful countries in other areas as well."

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