Can a team outside of Istanbul win the Turkish Super Lig?

It has been eight seasons in the Turkish Super Lig since a team outside of Istanbul has won the league. In eight consecutive years the league’s title has rotated between the big three of Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce. Football fans will believe one of the big three can win the league next term.

Turkish football has one of the same problems (at least to some fans) that the other top leagues around Europe have. The problem lies in the concentration of money, talent and fans enjoyed by a select few football clubs. Thanks to that concentration of resources, championship title fights have been few and far between for the clubs outside of Istanbul.

Galatasaray won the Super Lig in 2018. It was the club’s first triumph in three years. The league was competitive as just four points separated Galatasaray and fourth place Besiktas. Fenerbahce, a club that hasn’t secured the Super Lig title since 2014, finished second edging out Istanbul Basaksehir on goal difference. With another title going to an Istanbul club, the question has been raised: Can a team outside of Istanbul win the Turkish Super Lig?


Bursaspor shocked the football world when the team won the 2010 Super Lig title. Located in the city of Bursa, the club won the championship by just one point over Fenerbahce. Bursaspor’s win made them on the second Turkish club outside of Istanbul to win the title. A stat that hasn’t been added to since. This past season saw the club finish closer to the relegation zone than the European places. Bursaspor may never get back to those once dreamy heights, but fans are still hoping it to happen again.


Trabzonspor finished the 2017-18 Super Lig season in fifth place. Despite their high placement in the table, the club was well off of making the Europa League as Besiktas finished 16 points better. Trabzonspor’s best years came in the 1970s when the club won four Super Lig titles. Three of those titles came in consecutive seasons. Trabzonspor may have the best chance of winning the championship, but the club will need further investment in the playing squad to achieve it.

Istanbul Basaksehir

Istanbul Basaksehir is technically a club from Istanbul, but the team is not one of the three elite of the country. Basaksehir was established in 1990 and they didn’t reach the Super Lig until 2007. The club is the new kid on the block and it is attempting to upset the traditional trio of Turkish football giants. Basaksehir have finished in the Super Lig top four in each season since joining. This past year saw them finish in third and once again qualify for Europe. In 2016-17, Basaksehir nearly won the league, but Besiktas edged them out by four points in the final standings. Basaksehir have the best chance of overthrowing the monopoly enjoyed by Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce. It may not be long until Basaksehir can win their first Super Lig championship.