It was an up and down 2018 for Turkey.
After a silver medal at last year’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the team crashed all the way down to 10th place at the World Championship.
There is no question that the team will want to use the 2019 VNL as an opportunity to prove that their 2018 showing wasn't a one-off and that they can consistently compete with the best in the world.
2018 FIVB VNL record & stats
Win/loss: 11/ 4
Sets win/loss/ratio: 40 / 19/ 2.105
Points win/loss/ratio: 1351 / 1244 / 1.086
Final position: 2nd
What’s new for Turkey in FIVB VNL 2019?
Turkey has a bunch of relatively new young players worth keeping an eye on, but Ebrar Karakurt should probably be at the top of your list.
The 19-year-old opposite moved up to the senior women’s team in 2018, debuting at the inaugural FIVB VNL where she helped the team win a silver. She’s not exactly breaking news at this point but it would be interesting to see how much she’s developed in the last year and check in on the kind of player she’s steadily becoming.
Turkey world ranking: 12 (October 2018)
Turkey FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule
May 21 at 10 AM CT – Korea v Turkey
May 22 at 1 PM CT – Netherlands v Turkey
May 23 at 1 PM CT – Turkey v Serbia
May 28 at 9:30 AM CT – Turkey v Japan
May 29 at 9:30 AM CT – Germany v Turkey
May 30 at 9:30 AM CT – Turkey v Russia
June 4 at 3:05 AM CT – Dominican Republic v Turkey
June 5 at 3:05 AM CT – Bulgaria v Turkey
June 6 at 6:05 AM CT – Thailand v Turkey
June 11 at 3 AM CT – USA v Turkey
June 12 at 7 AM CT – China v Turkey
June 13 at 3 AM CT – Turkey v Poland
June 18 at 11 AM CT – Turkey v Belgium
June 19 at 11 AM CT – Italy v Turkey
June 20 at 8 AM CT – Turkey v Brazil
Turkey games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019
In 2018 Turkey proved that it can consistently deliver against mid-tier teams. However, given its mixed fortunes last year it will be interesting to watch how it fares against sterner opponents.
Mark your diaries with the fixture against USA, who took a closely fought win against Turkey in the 2018 FIVB VNL final before defeating them again, in straight sets, in the World Championships.
Also keep an eye on Turkey's final match in the preliminary round against Brazil. It is a rematch of the 2018 VNL semifinal, which Turkey won 3-0.
Turkey provisional roster
Head coach: Giovanni Guidetti
Setters: Cansu Ozbay, Buse Unal, Ezgi Dilik, Elif Sahin, Naz Aydemir Akyol
Liberos: Gizem Orge Guner, Simge Sebnem Akoz, Aylin Sarioglu
Middle Blockers: Eda Erdem Dunbar, Beyza Arici, Kubra Caliskan, Aycin Akyol, Yasemin Guveli, Zehra Gunes, Asli Kalac
Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Seyma Ercan, Hande Baladin, Meliha Ismailoglu, Melis Durul, Gozde Yilmaz, Meyrem Boz, Fatma Yildirim, Humay Topaloglu, Neriman Ozsoy, Cansu Cetin, Ebrar Karakurt
Average age: 24.7 (7th oldest)
Average height: 185.7cm (5th tallest)
Turkey player to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Meryem Çalık
Outside hitter Meryem Çalık (née Boz), 31, is still very much is the leader of this team.
Çalık is a steady force on the squad that’s alway a joy to watch. She’s had lengthy club championship experiences so the team has been relying on her.
Thankfully, the new generation after her is beginning to step up to the plate.
Some of the other young Turkish players worth mentioning include spiker Meliha İsmailoğlu, middle blocker Zehra Güne, setter Cansu Özbay, and libero Hatice Gizem Örge.
The bottom line: Can Turkey bounce back from World Championship disappointment?
Turkey’s crash from silver medalist at FIVB VNL to 10th place at the World Championship could either be a chain around its neck or a much-needed spark.
Central to charting the direction of this team is legendary coach Giovanni Guidetti. The 46-year-old has had plenty of success with various international teams and he’s been handling the Turkish squad since 2017. Guidetti is known for his animated persona on the sidelines but he’s also mindful of shaping the next generation of Turkish players.
We’ll see how Guidetti plays out of this tournament and whether young players really do manage to pull all the stops at this year's VNL. More than anything, it will be a fresh canvas for Turkey as it tries to recover from the stinging World Championship setback.
Can they avoid disappointment this time?
What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Turkey women’s team?
Anything can happen for Turkey in 2019. A repeat of last year's success may be unrealistic but the hope is that it can recover from the World Championship and regain its confidence.
Qualification for the Final Six would be considered a big win.
How to watch Turkey in FIVB VNL 2019
Watch the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League in its entirety LIVE on FloVolleyball.