Football and Turkey: A Special Bond

Turkey's supporters wave flags prior the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Turkey and France at the Buyuksehir Belediyesi stadium in Konya, on June 8, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re an avid football fan and you have been following international football leagues and national teams, you have probably noticed the special treatment football receives in Turkey. It’s safe to say that football has a special place in the hearts of Turkish people, more than any other sport.

However, have you ever wondered what led to the forming of a close relationship like that? Our article will focus on why football is the most popular sport in Turkey with a few facts about football in this Middle Eastern country.

Number 1 Sport in the Country

We have to look back on the history of football, way back to the Ottoman Empire when football was first introduced by a British James LaFontaine. LaFontaine had moved to Istanbul in 1899 and organized the first football league that lasted until 1922. That’s when the glory of Turkish football began.

In the early days of the Republic, the Turkish government decided to put the majority of their investments into football since it was always a prevalent sport. The investments never stopped, which led to football becoming a massive industry in Turkey.

The continuous support from the Turkish government and plenty of other investors established the dominance of the football industry in the country.

That support was more than enough for every person in Turkish homes to grow up learning, seeing, and hearing about football, both on the TV and in the newspapers. A keen interest in the sport and constant support from fans led to Turkey competing in the UEFA, and even the FIFA World Cup.

Bringing People Together

Football in Turkey isn’t only popular in bigger cities like Istanbul or Ankara — all parts of the country enjoy playing and watching football, especially Turkish teams and leagues. An abundance of football fans finds pleasure in betting on football matches, and ComeOn casino is a good choice for unique bets.

Regional rivalries are quite important in Turkey, as Turkey is generally a country with strong regional identities. Football is a way for people to travel through the country, getting to know other clubs and alter allegiances, which makes football a sport that brings people together.

Football matches in the country have become a place for dates and family outings, making football an enjoyable pastime for the whole family. 

What is more important is that football in Turkey is not focused on rivalries between teams that lead to hooliganism, as in some other countries. Having said that, Turkey still has ways to go to separate politics from sports.

Interesting Facts About Football in Turkey

There are plenty of interesting facts about football. For example, Hakan Şükür scored 249 goals in 489 appearances — the most in Süper Lig.

As we have previously mentioned, Turkey’s national team has seen success in the UEFA European Championship. The team qualified four times with their best result reaching the semi-finals in 2008. The Turkish team qualified by winning against Croatia in the quarter-finals — 3–1 in penalties.

If you’re familiar with Turkish names, you have seen that Turkish football players do not have their last names written on their jerseys. Instead, we can see their first names. The reason behind that lies in the fact that football is older than last names in Turkey. The latter was introduced in 1934.