By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s epic footballing journey to the European Championship in France is almost ready to begin but one vital element of any side’s preparation appears to be missing – an official team song.
UEFA Euro 2016 is set to start on July 10 in Paris where 24 teams will battle it out for Europe's most prestigious international title.
Many national sides have already recorded and released an official song. Even tiny Wales, albeit well-known for its musical heritage, has released ‘Together Stronger (C'mon Wales)’ by acclaimed Welsh rock group, the Manic Street Preachers.
However, Turkish football fans – eagerly awaiting the tournament after their team delivered a promising display in the qualifiers – are still waiting for a rousing anthem.
The Turkish Football Federation's Communication Director Ilker Ugur told Anadolu Agency that the rights to pick and announce an official song "belong to the Coca-Cola Company".
"The song will be picked by Coca-Cola from among the candidate songs; then it will be labeled as the ‘official’ song of Turkey's UEFA Euro 2016 journey," Ugur said.
Coca-Cola also confirmed that the song will be picked and released "within the next several days" but did not give any details about what type of music the candidate songs feature or which famous singers are involved.
Unofficially, several songs have already been recorded by Turkey’s vast army of pop acts. Several were released after Turkey's qualification to the tournament was settled, but an official song for Turkey's football squad remains a mystery.
Anadolu Agency spoke to Turkish fans about the lack of an official song, with many saying they wanted a tune that will "fire up the crowd" and "make us feel the moment".
Speaking in Ankara while watching this week’s Turkish Cup final between Istanbul sides Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, Emre Demir, a 28-year-old Galatasaray fan, said: "A good, firing song will definitely give the team and the fans the feeling of unity and solidarity."
He recalls ‘12 Giant Men’ – a popular song composed for Turkey’s basketball side when the country hosted the sport’s 2001 European Championship: “It was really catchy and sung by the entire crowd all the time."
Alper Sen, a 27-year-old research assistant who supports Fenerbahce, said any upcoming official song "must make us feel in the moment and make us feel we stand with our team every step of the way”.
"The song by Mustafa Sandal 'Pazara Kadar Degil Mezara Kadar' [‘It’s Not Until Sunday, It’s Until The Tomb’] in the 2002 World Cup for our football team was one of the best," Sen adds. "It was definitely among the catchiest songs."
Another fan, 29-year-old Halit Ozturk, said the song "should be like an anthem for the team and can be sung during the matches". Ozturk hopes the official song "can be sung with one voice, like a cheer".
"The song by Tarkan [a popular male singer] in 2008 when Turkey reached the semi-finals of the European Championships is, for me, the best one," Ozturk said. "I remember the crowd cheering the song during the matches and later on it was still remembered."
Turkey's Euro 2016 campaign will start with Group D matches; they will face Spain – 2008 and 2012 winners – the Czech Republic and Croatia.
The team will definitely need a huge boost from its fans in France to top the competitive group.
There were several memorable songs made for Turkey's national sport teams, and the fans are hoping the next great one will be for Euro 2016.