Euro Cup:Joy erupts as Turkey advance

Ankara, June 21

Turkey’s cities erupted in joy as football fans poured into the streets and squares to celebrate the national soccer team’s 3-1 penalty shootout win over Croatia.

Seconds after the final whistle blew, Istanbul’s streets were a riot of sound and colour — red and white, the national team’s colours. Waving flags and brandishing red flares, fans congregated in central Taksim square — and, it seemed, every other open space in this city of more than 12 million.

“Joyful Turks conquered Vienna!,” headlined the Turkish daily Hurriyet on its Web site. “Vienna fell!” headlined daily Milliyet.

Cars blaring their horns, circled the streets of city centers across the nation, with fans leaning out of the windows waving flags and shouting.

In Ankara, several people fired their guns from their balconies to express their joy despite repeated warnings against the practice that have killed or wounded numerous people in the past in similar occasions. At least two Turks were wounded by stray bullets in Mersin, private CNN-Turk television reported.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former soccer player, attended the match in Vienna and burst into applause at the win. “We’re very happy, our country needed this victory,” Erdogan said.

Fans partying on the streets said Turkey’s victory had made them proud. “We are extremely happy and full of pride,” said Canan Ozdemir in Istanbul. “We’re in shock.” In the capital Ankara, central Kizilay square quickly filled with thousands of fans, dancing, singing, and waving national flags.