There is a nobility about horses and the way that they strut about the place. It is the reason why rich people are attracted to horses and horse racing. The horse has special status amongst us Homo sapiens because of our shared history in battle, work and travel. Humanity became mobile through the horse; we climbed on its back and away we went. Turkey has some history with horses, through the Hittites breeding exceptional horses in the Cappadocia region in ancient times. This happened around 1600 to 1200 BC; and the Hittites were famous for their chariots, hence the horses.
The Hittite empire was centred around Anatolia, although over five hundred years it conquered Babylon in Mesopotamia and was very active in Syria. It is, however, their love of horses and the chariot we wish to focus on here. Can Turkey turn back the clock and become known as the breeding ground for exceptional pure bred race horses? If they can, horse racing can rejuvenate the Turkish economy. With horse racing comes not only fine horses to export for sale, but also gambling and in the age of the Internet gambling is now big business.
Sports betting is huge all over the globe and Turkey could cut itself a slice of that action. Betting on horses is the pursuit of politicians and kings; and so it generates huge and influential interest wherever it prospers. I also imagine that Daesh would not be a big fan of horse racing and that is another reason to support its expansion in Turkey. Horse racing already exists in Turkey and has so since the nineteen fifties; it is a small but well run industry. The Jockey Club of Turkey was founded in 1950 and was recognised as a public benefit society by the government in 1953.
There are nine race courses in Turkey and the industry is reputed to employ some forty thousand families. In addition, there are over five thousand owners of thoroughbred horse flesh and around fifteen hundred trainers. Recent reports suggest that there some seven hundred and fifty stallions and over thirty three hundred brood mares. Plus, more than ten thousand Turks are working in betting shops and there are nearly three thousand of these nationally. The industry is ripe for modernisation and rapid expansion through investment; online gambling could be that source of investment for a country that could do with a leg-up. The Turkish economy may ride into the twenty first century on the horse’s back.