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ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTALISM IN SPORTS

TRADITIONAL TURKISH ARCHERY

Hello, my name is Esra. I was born in Akşehir district of Konya in 1994. I completed my elementary, secondary and high school education here. My introduction to sports and traditional Turkish archery was in physical education class in high school. In 2012, I was awarded the right to study in the Department of Teaching at Gazi University Faculty of Sports Sciences. I completed my master’s degree at Gazi University Institute of Educational Sciences. I am currently pursuing my PhD at Gazi University. In addition to being a basketball coach for 8 years, I have been coaching Traditional Turkish Archery for 3 years.

To tell you a little bit about traditional Turkish Archery:

The importance of Turkish archery, archery in Turks and especially equestrian archery dates back to prehistoric times. Horses and archery are given great importance in the “Equestrian Steppe Culture”, which emerged in and around the Altai and God Mountains from about 5000 BC and then completely dominated Inner Asia. Turkish equestrian archers in history have been known for their mastery of hitting the target precisely by turning on the saddle and shooting arrows in the back while galling. In the history of Turkish culture, archery has been important in a wide area. Its continuous hunts, which are livelihoods and military exercises in Central Asia, have enabled the development of Turkish equestrian archery; Turks have carried these skills from Central Asia to Anatolia. From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, Turkish archery developed greatly as a shooting technique and weapon. Since the second half of the 15th century, archery was carried out as a planned and regular sporting activity in the Ottoman Empire, for this purpose 34 large squares called “arrow square” were allocated. The arrow squares had their own allowances, administrators, servants, and there were athletes residing, training and competitions. The most well-known of the arrow squares is Okmeydan in Istanbul. After the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, it was taken from the owners and officially given to archery sports service. With the ottoman beginning to lose its power and the emergence of firearms, the sport of archery was forgotten again. In 1937, on the orders of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, archery was tried to revive the branch. Until the 2000s, Traditional Turkish Archery was only found to be influential in the success of Turks in wars in the history books. Since 2005, Traditional Turkish Archery has been revived with the work of ETHNOSPOR CONFEDATION, and in 2019, Traditional Turkish Archery was recognized as a sports branch in Turkey and its federation was established. Traditional Turkish Archery is listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage and is a sport that will stretch from the dusty pages of history to the Olympics.

Can Traditional Turkish Archery Be Environmentally Friendly?
Unfortunately, our planet faces environmental problems such as plastic waste and climate change. Due to these problems, each of us needs to take some steps individually. For example, even small changes such as using cloth bags instead of bags and canteens instead of pet bottles can make a difference to prevent disposable plastics from turning into waste. In addition to these changes that we can make in our daily lives, you can also make more sustainable decisions when playing sports.

The bow, arrow and other materials used in relation to the sustainable environmental friendliness of traditional Turkish Archery can be recycled.

1.BOW
The main substance of the springs used in traditional Turkish archery is usually tree species. The construction of a quality organic spring varies from 3 to 5 years. Therefore, if we use and maintain the springs properly, the usage time will increase and contribute to sustainable recycling.

2.ARROW
In traditional Turkish Archery, there are multiple types of arrows such as target archery, range archery, arrows used in training. What all of these arrow varieties have in common is that the arrow trunks are trees. The fact that the arrow trunks are trees can cause the arrows thrown at the target to wear and break quickly. In order to ensure sustainability, the broken arrow bodies can be repaired again by removing the feathers and rectal parts of the arrow. Broken arrow bodies can be reshaped and used as training arrows.

3.TARGET
In traditional Turkish Archery, paper targets are used that are likened to a human figure called puta. Behind these targets is a polymer material called ethylene vinyl acetate, called EVA, to cause less damage to the arrows. The positives of EVA targets are that in addition to being very light, they have high tear resistance, elasticity and impact resistance. In addition to single-piece EVA targets, multi-layer, multi-layer EVA targets are also produced. These materials both cause less damage to the arrows and can be used again by taking the bad parts to ensure sustainability of eva targets that have expired and are worn out due to over-shooting. The structure of the target papers used on the target cushions will last longer when translated into fabric.

4.CLOTHINGAND OTHER EQUIPMENT

In traditional Turkish archery, the material of the bags (corkscrew) that we use to preserve the arrows is usually leather types. We must be careful during the maintenance and use of these bags. At the same time, most of the traditional clothes worn consist of the clothes that states have historically used in wars. We must pay attention to the use and cleanliness of these clothes and take care of their care.

5.ARROW SHOOTING AREAS

Although indoor and outdoor gyms are used in traditional Turkish archery, open areas, soil areas and meadows are mostly used. Targets used in these areas to protect nature and not to harm the environment; fabric is used as targets, idols and animal figures.

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