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TUR - Ataman puts squad through paces
CESME (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - At least from the outside looking in, it seems the pressure may have eased some on Turkey to come up with a big result this summer when they compete at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
The national team that reached the Final of the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul but has had more downs than ups in the three years since and needed a wild card to play at this year's 24-team event.
The face of Turkish basketball for more than a decade, Hedo Turkoglu, has retired from the national team and Ersan Ilyasova can't play this summer as he recovers from the right ankle injury that plagued him late in the 2013-14 campaign.
Expectations would appear to be lower.
But as history suggests, like 2006 when Turkey needed a wild card to play at the FIBA World Championship in Japan, this national team may be most dangerous when the prospects do not look as bright.
Eight years ago, Turkey finished second in a group of death, Group C, that included Greece, Lithuania, Australia, Brazil and Qatar and went on an impressive run to the Quarter-Finals before falling to Argentina.
The aim right now for new coach Ergin Ataman is to make certain his players are in good physical shape during the preparations, and to instill his philosophy in terms of tactics.
Turkey are now at a training camp in Cesme, near Izmir, with Ataman calling the shots.
The camp runs until 16 July in Cesme with Turkey then traveling to Italy to train in Bormio from 22-31 July.
Turkey next fly to Brussels for a game against Belgium on 2 August, before returning to Istanbul and training 4-8 August.
After that, the team has friendly games scheduled against Canada and Spain and will then take part in a preparation tournament in Serbia that also features the host country, Argentina and Finland.
Exhibition games between Greece and Turkey will take place in Athens and Istanbul.
A final preparation game will take place in Spain on 27 August against Puerto Rico.
Turkey will play in Group C at the FIBA Basketball World Cup against the USA, Finland, the Dominican Republic, Ukraine and New Zealand.
Turkey squad at training camp in Cesme: Birkan Batuk, Kerem Gonlum, Dogus Balbay, Mehmet Yagmur, Sinan Guler, Ender Arslan, Cenk Akyol, Furkan Aldemir, Melih Mahmutoglu, Oguz Savas, Barıs Hersek, Barıs Ermis, Berkay Candan, Serhat Cetin, Evren Buker, Samet Geyik and Kerem Tunceri.