Turkey national basketball team

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This article is about the Turkish men's national basketball team. For the women's team, see Turkey women's national basketball team.
Turkey Turkey Türkiye
Turkish Basketball Federation.png
FIBA ranking 8 1
Joined FIBA 1936
FIBA zone FIBA Europe
National federation TBF
Coach Ergin Ataman
Nickname(s) 12 Dev Adam
(12 Giant Men)
Olympic Games
Appearances 2
Medals None
FIBA World Cup
Appearances 4
Medals Silver medal world centered-2.svg 2010
FIBA EuroBasket
Appearances 22
Medals Silver medal europe.svg 2001
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Light jersey
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Team colours
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Dark jersey
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Team colours

The Turkey national basketball team represents Turkey in international basketball competitions organized by FIBA. The team is nicknamed "12 Dev Adam", meaning 12 Giant Men.

Turkey has won two silver medals at major international tournaments, namely the FIBA World Cup (2010) and FIBA EuroBasket (2001). Turkey has also won two gold (1987, 2013); one silver (1971); and three bronze (1967, 1983, 2009) medals at the Mediterranean Games.

Currently, Turkey stands 8th in the FIBA World Rankings.


Ahmet Robenson was known as being the first organizer of basketball in Turkey. In 1936, Turkey played their first ever basketball match against Greece, winning 49–12. For many years basketball was the second most popular sport in Turkey, but the national team could not win any international tournaments until the 1980s, when Turkey won the gold medal at the 1981 Balkan Championship and the 1987 Mediterranean Games. Efes Pilsen was the first Turkish club to win a European Cup in any sport, the 1995–96 FIBA Korać Cup. Since then, basketball in Turkey has grown constantly, as the national basketball team began to play a major role in international tournaments. The Turkish national team won the silver medal in EuroBasket 2001, and the silver medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.


Turkey's European championship debut came at EuroBasket 1949. The Turks split their six games in the seven-team round robin tournament, finishing with three wins and three losses for 4th place.


Turkey competed again at EuroBasket 1951 in Paris. Their only loss in the preliminary round was to the Soviet Union as Turkey earned the second-rank spot with a 3–1 record. Their single loss to Bulgaria in the semi-final round, however, was enough to bump them from championship contention as they came out on the bottom of a three-way tie with a 2–1 record. They won their classification 5–8 game, but lost the 5/6 game to Italy.

Turkey returned after missing 1953's edition to EuroBasket 1955 in Budapest. They went 1–2 in their preliminary round group, taking third in the pool and moving to classification play. There they lost only to France on their way to a 3–1 record in classification round 1. They lost their 9–12 semi-final by 1 point to Finland, but defeated England 77–54 in the next game to take 11th place of the 18 team tournament.

Turkey appeared again at EuroBasket 1957 in Sofia. Losing to the Soviet Union and Poland in the preliminary round, Turkey took third in the group to be sent to the classification pool. They defeated each of the other seven teams in the classification round in order to take 9th place of the 16 teams.


The 1960s, 1970s and 1980s were in general a barren period for the Turkish national basketball team. They were, however, successful at the Mediterranean Games, winning two bronze medals in 1967 and 1983, one silver medal in 1971, and one gold medal in 1987. Turkey also won the gold medal at the Balkan Championship in 1981. The team was led by notable coaches like Yalçın Granit and Mehmet Baturalp in the 1960s and 1970s, and by Aydan Siyavuş during the Balkan and Mediterranean triumphs of the 1980s, which marked the dawn of a successful new era in Turkish basketball (especially in European club competitions) starting from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Efe Aydan and Erman Kunter were among the notable players of this period in Turkish basketball. Erman Kunter, who still holds a number of all-time records in the Turkish Basketball League as a player, later became a successful coach in the Turkish and French basketball leagues, and led the Turkish national team at EuroBasket 1999.


Turkey appeared again at EuroBasket 1993 after 12 years, but finished 11th among 16 teams. Turkey finished 13th among 14 teams at EuroBasket 1995, 8th among 16 teams at EuroBasket 1997, and again 8th among 16 teams at EuroBasket 1999.


Turkey won the silver medal at EuroBasket 2001, losing to Yugoslavia in the Final.

As the host country of EuroBasket 2001, the Turkish national basketball team, led by coach Aydın Örs, reached the EuroBasket final for the first time in their history (a few years earlier, Aydın Örs had reached the final of the 1992–93 FIBA Saporta Cup and won the 1995–96 FIBA Korać Cup as the coach of Turkish club Efes Pilsen, which was the first European title won by a Turkish basketball team.) Turkey defeated Croatia in the quarter-finals and Germany in the semi-finals, before playing with Yugoslavia in the final. Turkey lost the game 69–78 and finished the tournament with the silver medal. Turkish star İbrahim Kutluay scored 19 points in the final game and was included in the all-tournament team.

Turkey then qualified for the 2002 FIBA World Championship. Turkey had 4 wins and 4 defeats at the championship and finished 9th.

At EuroBasket 2003, Turkey reached the second round where they got eliminated by Serbia and Montenegro.

Turkey qualified for EuroBasket 2005 held in Serbia and Montenegro, but lost to Lithuania (87–75) and Croatia (80–67), defeating only Bulgaria (94–89) in the preliminary round. This win brought Turkey to the knock-out stage, where Germany eliminated the team 66–57. Turkey ended the tournament with a 9–12 rank.

Turkey was awarded one of the four wild cards by FIBA for the qualification to the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.

The Turkish squad completed the preliminary rounds in Group C at second place after the Greek team, and was entitled to play in the round of 16, winning 4 matches against Lithuania (76–74), Australia (76–68), Brazil (73–71) and Qatar (76–69) out of 5 games in total, losing only to Greece (69–76) in the last match. The young team also achieved the first official win over Lithuania and the first ever 4 consecutive wins in a championship. On August 26, 2006, the Turkish national team qualified for the Elite Eight, defeating Slovenia by 90–84. In the quarter-finals, Turkey lost to Argentina. They managed to defeat Lithuania once again before losing to France, finishing 6th.

A new nickname, "12 Cesur Yürek" (12 Brave Hearts) was proposed after the young and inexperienced team's surprising performance in the 2006 World Championship, despite not having star players Hidayet Türkoğlu, Mehmet Okur, Mirsad Türkcan, Kerem Tunçeri and Hüseyin Beşok.

At EuroBasket 2007 Turkey played in Group C with Lithuania, Germany and Czech Republic. Turkey began by losing 86–69 to Lithuania and was then blown out 79–49 by Germany. The team ended group play with an 80–72 win over fellow bottom-of-the-group team Czech Republic. With that win Turkey advanced to the next round, but the team lost all its games (66–51 to Slovenia, 84–75 to Italy, 85–64 to France) in that round. Turkey were eliminated from EuroBasket 2007 with a 1–5 record and an 11th place finish.

At EuroBasket 2009 Turkey played in Group D with hosts Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria. The Group D matches took place in Wrocław, Poland. Turkey won all three of its group matches and qualified for the second round. Turkey enjoyed a strong start in the second round as well. The team won its first match, against World Champions Spain, when Aşık and İlyasova rejected a last-second shot by Sergio Llull. Turkey then beat Serbia in overtime. Turkey's winning streak came to an end against Slovenia, when, despite a 19-point comeback, Atsür missed a desperation three pointer in a 69–67 loss. In the quarter-finals, Turkey met Greece and lost a close game in overtime, finishing the tournament 8th. Turkey won the bronze medal at the 2009 Mediterranean Games.


Turkey won the silver medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, losing to the USA in the Final.

As the host country, Turkey, led by coach Bogdan Tanjević, automatically qualified for the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Turkey topped their group, winning all their games against Côte d'Ivoire, Russia, Greece, Puerto Rico and China. In the knockout stages Turkey managed to defeat France, Slovenia and Serbia in a thrilling semi-final match which Turkey won 83–82. The team enjoyed its greatest FIBA success to date, going undefeated in group play and progressing to the final, where they eventually lost to the United States and won the silver medal. Each player was awarded a prize of 1,500,000 TL (approximately $1,000,000 in September 2010) from the Turkish government for being the runner-up in the competition.[1]

Orhun Ene was appointed head coach to lead Turkey during EuroBasket 2011. The team had a bad tournament as they got eliminated in the second group phase after losing three straight games. Enes Kanter, the big potential of international basketball, was included to the roster for the first time. Turkey and Serbia were the only teams that managed to defeat EuroBasket 2011 winners Spain during the tournament. Turkey won their second gold medal in the 2013 Mediterranean Games by defeating Serbia in the final.

At EuroBasket 2013, Turkey managed to defeat only Sweden, finishing 17th.

On March 22, 2014, the Turkish Basketball Federation announced that Ergin Ataman will lead the team during the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, EuroBasket 2015 and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Ergin Ataman is one of the most successful Turkish coaches in European club competitions, having won the 2001–02 FIBA Saporta Cup with the Italian club Montepaschi Siena, and the 2011–12 FIBA EuroChallenge with the Turkish club Beşiktaş.


The Turkish national team's medal record through the years:

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
FIBA World Cup 0 1 0 1
FIBA EuroBasket 0 1 0 1
Mediterranean Games 2 1 3 6
Grand Totals 2 3 3 8

Competitive record[edit]

European Youth Championship Performances[edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Under-16/17 3 1 4 8
2 Under-18/19 2 2 2 6
3 Under-20 1 1 1 3