VAN, Turkey

A traditional Kyrgyz horse game commonly likened to polo continues to be played in eastern Turkey. 

Kok Boru is a synthesis of traditional practices, performances and the game itself. It is played by two teams on horseback where players try to maneuver a goat’s carcass and score by putting it into the opponent’s goal.

Kyrgyz Turks who moved from the Pamir plateau in northern Afghanistan in the early 1980s to Ercis district in Turkey’s Van province want to pass the game on to future generations through the Kok Boru Sports Club they established.

The sports club represents Turkey and promotes the game at various international tournaments it takes part in.

“We’re making efforts to keep this traditional game, which is thousands of years old, alive,” Mustafa Timur, the club’s vice president, said in a statement.

Pointing to the cultural significance of the game, he reiterated that they want to pass it on to future generations.

*Written and contributed to by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

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