Turkey's European Taekwondo Championships team were welcomed home in Istanbul ©TTF

Turkey's heroes from the European Taekwondo Championships were officially welcomed back to the country at Istanbul Airport.

The country topped the medal table at the event in Manchester last week, after proving to be the best team in the men's, women's and Para taekwondo categories.

They won nine gold medals in all, including Hakan Reçber's successful defence of his men's under-63 kilograms title.

Emre Kutalmış Ateşli won the men's over-87kg division, while Merve Dinçel won the women's under-49kg gold.

Zeliha Ağrıs won the women's under-53kg title and Hatice Kübra İlgün was triumphant in the women's under-57kg, while Turkey also won four Para taekwondo titles.

These came courtesy of Alican Özcan in the men's under-58kg, Mahmut Bozteke in the men's under-63kg, Nurcihan Ekinci in the women's under-47kg and Gamze Gürdal in the women's under-57kg.

Turkey also won five silver and five bronze medals across the categories.

Fans, friends and family were among those to greet the team as they returned home.

"It is a great success for us to win three European Championships, in this Championship we went with three teams," said Turkish Taekwondo Federation President Metin Şahin.

"Turkey has become the European champion in women's, men's and Para-taekwondo among nearly 50 countries. 

"For the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, this tournament gave huge points. 

Turkey topped the standings at the event in Manchester ©TTF
Turkey topped the standings at the event in Manchester ©TTF

"We aim to play to the top with the highest participation in 2024 in Paris. 

"I would like to thank everyone who supported us. 

"There is no success that the youth of this nation cannot achieve."

Turkey's success should be measured against the absence of traditional powerhouse Russia, who were banned due to the invasion of Ukraine.

"We have always been in the top three of the podium," said coach Ali Şahin.

"Our starting tournaments went very well this year. 

"Our adaptation to the new systems was very fast. 

"We had a nice success, we will try to protect it. 

"The goal, of course, is the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

"With this Championship, we have taken the first step."