Political Polarization and Football in Turkey

Sefa Secen, Syracuse University



Umberto Eco was one of the first intellectuals to problematize the attention devoted to football in modern times. For him, the sport represented apolitical morality, absence of purpose, and vanity.[1] Similarly, Gramscian thinkers have claimed that the development of football served the commodification of everyday life through capitalism, appropriating cultural pursuits, distracting the proletariat with sporting “circuses” and obstructing their revolutionary potential, turning athletes into “robots” and spectators into disciplined, passive consumers, and creating further opportunities for capitalist exploitation and ruling-class domination.[2] Football, in Gramsci’s view, was a prototype of an individualistic society as it demands enterprise, competition, and conflict.[3] However, contrary to these expectations, the relationship between commodification and depoliticization has proven to be less mechanical or direct in recent decades. In other words, the commodification of the sport has not always ensured the depoliticization of fans and football stadiums.

Despite the expectation that the commodification of football would become a universal trend, fans have mobilized and engaged in public forms of dissent, even under authoritarian regimes. Perhaps the most famous example came during the Arab Spring, with the participation of Ultra fans from Al Ahly and Zamalek football teams changing the course of the uprisings against Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.[4] Ultras shielded the protesters when Mubarak’s camel-riding thugs stormed Tahrir Square in February 2011, confronted the police, and helped the revolt to succeed.[5]

In Turkey, heightened polarization, democratic backsliding, competitive authoritarianism, and populism manifested themselves in football stadiums in the second decade of rule by the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP). Football stadiums have turned into new sites of contestation between the dominant political ideologies of the country: secularism, conservatism, and nationalism. In this context, on the one hand, politicians have increasingly leveraged football as a means to shore up and build political support. On the other hand, disenfranchised segments of society have responded to government policies by employing politically loaded symbols, banners, slogans, and chants in football stadiums. This essay first presents information about the history of the sport in Turkey and then goes on to discuss the relationship between football and politics at multiple levels (i.e., international, transnational, domestic, individual, and stadiums) and through different angles (i.e., soft power, political mobilization, investment, ethnic identity, gender, spectatorship, and performativity of slogans, chants, and banners).

Background of Football in Turkey

Turkey, with its population approaching 90 million, has always been passionate about football, the most popular sport in the country.[6] It was brought to the Ottoman Empire in the 1870s by British merchants in the port cities of Thessaloniki, Izmir, and Istanbul. Those merchants sowed the seeds of what became “the big three” football clubs,[7] or Üç Büyükler:  Beşiktaş J.K., Fenerbahçe S.K., and Galatasaray S.K.[8] During the 1950s, the sport went through a process of professionalization, first with the creation of a football league made up of teams in the three major cities (Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir) in 1952, and then with the creation of the national league (Milli Lig) in 1959. This was driven in part by the successes of the national team, which qualified for two consecutive FIFA World Cups (1950 and 1954). However, the national team’s story for the next four decades was one of failure and near misses. Only after Galatasaray’s golden years (1999–2000), when the team won the UEFA Cup and the Super Cup, did the national team rise to prominence again at the international level. With star players from Galatasaray, the national team finished in third place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, and reached the semi-finals at the UEFA Euro 2008.

Football began to be commodified across the world in the 1970s. It became a multifaceted show business where fans were also customers buying a wide range of player and spectator products and associating love for their teams with the consumption of these products.[9] Although commodification, coupled with increased visibility, allowed football to reach larger audiences, it also adversely affected the nature of fandom. Supporters’ strong identification with local clubs was transformed into detached and consumption-orientated identification of the onlooker.[10] This new model of fandom also included those who had often never cared about football until they discovered competitive football games on their cable channels.[11]

The process of commodification did not necessarily result in less state influence over the sport in Turkey.[12] On the contrary, the state became the principal investor over time by creating municipal teams, providing extensive sponsorship funds, forgiving clubs’ tax debts,[13] and building stadiums.[14] In particular, the bulk of the sector’s financial resources comes from “iddaa,” a state-owned sports betting company.[15] Some analysts claimed that this helped structure a web of patron-client relationships between club officials and the state, and motivated political quietism in football stadiums.[16] In fear of losing state support, club managers preferred to stay out of politics, and opposed the politicization of football stadiums by the fans. Additionally, clubs’ skyrocketing debts and the decreasing number of spectators due to the erosion of competition contributed to a dependence on state funds. Turkey is the only country today where club debts and liabilities are bigger than club assets.[17] Finally, for several years following the 1980 coup, the military’s suppression of political expressions of all sorts facilitated the depoliticization of football stadiums.[18]

Against this historical background, I argue that the depoliticization of football began to fail in the second decade of the Justice and Development Party rule (2012–2022). I refer to two interrelated processes regarding the politicization of football: fans increasingly attempting to raise public consciousness of certain sociopolitical issues through their songs, chants, signs, and other displays; and politicians increasingly seeing the sport as essential to acquiring and maintaining power and trying to shape and control it.[19] The latter process was perhaps more common throughout the history of the sport in the country albeit to varying degrees.[20] However, the former is mostly unique to the second decade of the AKP rule. In the following section, I focus on these two parallel processes and explain how the issues and conflicts characterizing Turkish politics were mirrored in the sport in light of the empirical data elicited through excerpts from mainstream national newspapers and policy documents.

Football and Politics under the AKP Rule

Since it came to power in 2002, the Justice and Development Party government has bestowed Turkish football with unprecedented resources: it has helped to increase revenues, embarked on at least 30 new stadium construction projects across 27 cities, built a training complex for the national team, and placed bids to host international tournaments.[21]President Erdoğan, as an ex-semiprofessional football player, believes in the soft power of the sport. He regularly draws on sports analogies and wears the scarves of local teams during his political campaigning tours to tap into football’s semiotic power.[22] Moreover, he forges formal and informal structures and relationships of patronage to cement his control over the sport. For instance, Yildirim Demirören, son of the owner of Turkey’s biggest media empire and holder of a $675 million low-interest loan secured from a state bank, despite his bad track record as president of Beşiktaş, became president of the Turkish Football Federation with Erdoğan’s backing.[23] Demirören returned the favor by throwing his support behind Erdoğan during the 2017 referendum in which people voted on whether to approve 18 proposed amendments to the constitution, the most important of which was the proposal to replace the existing parliamentary system of government with a presidential one.[24]

Disturbed by some fan groups of the “big three,” Erdoğan also explicitly showed his support for the team of the conservative, pro-government Istanbul district Başakşehir. The team made it to the top-flight of the Turkish football league system (Süper Lig) in 2016, and won the title in the 2019–2020 season. The club’s president, Göksel Gümüşdağ, is a relative of the first lady Emine Erdoğan and resigned from his position as vice president of the Turkish Football Federation in the aftermath of the match-fixing scandal in 2011.[25] President Erdoğan’s favoritism expectedly angered the fans of other teams, the big three in particular. When Galatasaray beat Başakşehir 2–0 in 2018, a chant of “We are Mustafa Kemal’s soldiers,” a secularist reference to the founder and first president of the Turkish republic, echoed among the fans.[26] At the opening ceremony of Galatasaray’s new stadium in 2011, Galatasaray fans had also booed Erdoğan and chanted, “We will not surrender, we will not be silent, nobody is a king or sultan” in response to the president’s growing authoritarianism.[27]

Football turned into a form of public dissent and a vehicle for communicating discontent by the silenced masses in the country. Football stadiums allowed anti-government fans to disrupt authoritarian politics and make their voices heard, although to a limited extent. All of this helped generate another cleavage in Turkish football. For a long time, the major cleavage was regional as Anatolian teams tried to challenge the hegemony of the three Istanbul teams. However, as a result of Erdoğan’s growing authoritarianism and interference in the sport, a new cleavage emerged: teams with more government support and pro-government fan groups vs. teams with less government support and anti-government fan groups.

Anti-government tendencies of some fan groups first intensified during the Gezi Park protests in 2013.[28]Protests against the urban development plan in Taksim Square’s Gezi Park quickly turned into widespread civil unrest against Erdoğan’s growing authoritarianism. Football stadiums became an unprecedented site of anti-government chants, such as “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance.”[29] This triggered a backlash, and political authorities responded quickly. Thousands of fans were arrested under the accusation of “terrorism” and 35 people, mostly Beşiktaş fans, were charged with attempting to stage a military coup.[30] In 2014, a controversial electronic identity card system was introduced to monitor political chanting and banners in stadiums.[31]

Mirroring the increased political polarization, pro-government banners were also displayed in football stadiums. When Başakşehir beat Club Brugge 2–0 in 2017, a fan group displayed a banner that read “Erdoğan is the Supreme Commander,” a title reserved by secularists to honor the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.[32]Additionally, sometimes pro-government and nationalist tendencies were mixed in football stadiums. For instance, during a third-tier game between Sakaryaspor, a team from northwestern Turkey, and Amedspor, a team from the largest Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir, military operation images were displayed on the scoreboard.[33] These images were reminiscent of the 2016 siege of Sur and the clashes between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants in Diyarbakir. Similarly, when Kasımpaşa, the team of Erdogan’s conservative, pro-government hometown, played Ankaragücü, fans of the former team chanted, “Mansur Yavaş out, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in.”[34] Mansur Yavaş, the mayor of Ankara, was watching the game from the stands. He was elected in the 2019 local election as the candidate of the Nation Alliance, an opposition alliance formed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İYİ Party.

Football stadiums also provided a space to publicly continue ideological debates from other cultural spheres, such as music and art. For example, when the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued an order to arrest Gülşen, a Turkish singer-songwriter, for a joke she made about the religious İmam Hatip schools on August 25, 2022,[35]Fenerbahçe fans sang her hit “Love at Home, Love in the World.” The song was a reference to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s motto of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World.”[36] During a game with Demir Grup Sivasspor on August 30, 2022, Beşiktaş fans protested her arrest, chanting: “Turkey is secular and will remain secular.”[37]

Fans are increasingly becoming aware of the strong linkages between politics and football, and strategically leverage them not only at the domestic level but also at the transnational and international levels. For instance, Fenerbahçe fans chanted the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a Champions League qualifier game against Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv in July 2022 after a Kyiv player scored a goal.[38] As a result, the team was hit with a fine and partial stadium closure.[39] Nevertheless, the incident demonstrated how easily fans could adapt their chants to international political developments to provoke their opponents. Illustrating the transnational political dimensions of football, during a game in October 2019, several fans of Tractor Sazi, an Iranian football club based in the Azeri Turkish-majority city of Tabriz in northwestern Iran, carried banners in support of Turkey’s military operations in northwest Syria.[40] Following the event, the Islamic Republic’s security and intelligence authorities arrested seven spectators whose fandom, they claimed, took on ethnic and political overtones.

Finally, gender norms around football fandom have started to change in recent years,[41] with the percentage of female spectators in Turkey increasing from 5 to 10 percent.[42] The Turkish Football Federation and club managements introduced a new set of policies to diversify the sport’s fanbase by giving away free tickets to women and children,[43]and setting up women-only spectator areas.[44] These actions were not only driven by the Federation’s bid to reduce violence and swearing in football stadiums long dominated by male spectators, but also its desire to help cure the chronic decline in stadium attendance.[45] Among these policies, the most interesting perhaps was to allow only women and children to attend the games of teams sanctioned for unruly behaviors of male spectators. When Fenerbahçe was ordered to play two home games behind closed doors in 2011, the club’s next home game was attended by more than 41,000 women and children, which was a historic day for Turkish football.[46]


As Simon Kuper highlights, football is not just about football: it is also about money, power, control, politics, freedom, struggle, and passion. When controlled by an authoritarian regime, football might produce and reproduce nationalism, xenophobia, and authoritarian thinking, but not without any social backlash. In this context, this article discussed how the government’s interference and growing authoritarianism, perceived as unfair and tendentious to some, has prepared the ground for the politicization of the football industry in Turkey. This happened in the context of the universal trend of commodification, challenging some of the Marxist and Gramscian expectations. Even as politicians increasingly leverage the sport as a means to attain political support, football fans mobilize and engage in public forms of dissent by utilizing the semiotic power of symbols, banners, slogans, and chants.

In the shadow of these tensions, Turkish football continues to suffer a persistent decline. Turkish teams serve as a kind of retirement home for foreign star players at the end of their careers, and the quality of the Turkish game lags far behind the big European leagues.[47] The golden age of Turkish football during the late 1990s and early 2000s now feels like a distant past. As the latest episode in this tragic downturn, the national team failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The only ones who attended the tournament from Turkey were soldiers who helped maintain security.[48] Looking into the future, the pro-government and anti-government fandom culture might weaken or come to an end with the fall or failure of authoritarian politics in the country. However, no matter what, football’s ability to reach, distract, and direct the masses will likely continue to make the game vulnerable to political influence and intervention.





[1] Umberto Eco, Travels in hyper reality: Essays (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986).

[2] Geoffrey Lawrence and David Rowe, eds., Power Play: Essays in the Sociology of Australian Sport (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1986); Jim McKay, No Pain, No Gain? Sport and Australian Culture (Sydney: Prentice Hall, 1991).

[3] Mark Perryman, “Nietzsche, Camus, Grass – the Dream Team,” The Guardian, April 20, 2006, www.theguardian.com/football/2006/apr/21/sport.comment1.

[4] For more on Egyptian Ultras, see Close’s article in this collection; Fehim Tastekin, “Ultras: The Surprise Kids of Turkey’s Uprising,” Al-Monitor, June 4, 2013, www.al-monitor.com/originals/2013/06/instanbul-football-clubs-help-protesters.html#ixzz7jthDT6fD.

[5] Josh Meyer, “How Soccer Can Help Us Predict the Next Arab Spring Revolution,” The Atlantic, May 22, 2013, www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/05/how-soccer-can-help-us-predict-the-next-arab-spring-revolution/276115.

[6] “Most Popular Sport by Country 2023,” 2023, World Population Review, https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/most-popular-sport-by-country

[7] Each Istanbul team has its own legacy. Galatasaray, the oldest, is associated with the élite Ottoman-era Galatasaray High School. Fenerbahçe has the biggest budget and the most illustrious fan base. Beşiktaş is the underdog, the working-class team, known for its passionate fans.

[8] Cüneyd Okay, “The Introduction, Early Development and Historiography of Soccer in Turkey: 1890–1914,” Soccer & Society 3, no. 3 (2010): 1–10.

[9] For foundational insights on the commodification of football, see Richard Giulianotti, “Sport Spectators and the Social Consequences of Commodification: Critical Perspectives from Scottish Football,” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 29, no. 4 (2005): 386–410; Yağmur Nuhrat, “Contesting Love through Commodification: Soccer Fans, Affect, and Social Class in Turkey,” American Ethnologist 45, no. 3 (2018): 392–404; and M. Berkay Aydın, Duygu Hatipoğlu, Çağdaş Ceyhan, “Endüstriyel futbol çağında ‘taraftarlık’” [In the age of industrial football

“support”], İletişim kuram ve araştırma dergisi [Journal of communication theory and research] (2008): 289–316.

[10] Richard Giulianotti, “Supporters, Followers, Fans, and Flaneurs: A Taxonomy of Spectator Identities in Football,” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 26, no. 1 (2002): 25–46.

[11] Simon Kuper, Soccer against the Enemy: How the World’s Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power(Nation Books: New York, 2010).

[12] See Mahmoud’s article in this volume for a similar trend in Egypt.

[13] “Devlet kulüplerin milyonluk vergi borcunu siliyor” [State erases clubs’ million-dollar tax debt], June 6, 2020, Milliyet, www.milliyet.com.tr/skorer/devlet-kuluplerin-milyonluk-vergi-borcunu-siliyor-1892434.

[14] For more information on the state’s role in the soccer industry, see Cem Tınaz, “Turkish Sports: Lost in Politics?” in Sport, Politics, and Society in the Middle East, ed. Danyel Reiche and Tamir Sorek (Oxford University Press, 2019), 123–145.

[15] “2017–18 sezonunda İddaa’dan hangi kulüp ne kadar kazandı?” [How much did each club earn from İddaa in the 2017–18 season?], May 31, 2018, Goal.com, www.goal.com/tr/haber/2017-18-sezonunda-iddaadan-hangi-kuluep-ne-kadar-kazandi/3utv0b6997dv13vpqqt6a3uyw.

[16] A. Kadir Yildirim, “Patronage and Industrial Football: Explaining the De-Politicization of Turkish Soccer Fandom,” Soccer & Society 20, no. 2 (2019): 232–251.

[17] “Turkish Football Clubs Lag Financially,” Daily Sabah, March 22, 2017, www.dailysabah.com/football/2017/03/22/turkish-football-clubs-lag-financially.

[18] A. Kadir Yildirim, “Patronage and Industrial Football: Explaining the De-Politicization of Turkish Soccer Fandomm,” Soccer & Society 20, no. 2 (2019): 7.

[19] A third process could be how club administrators use the sport to further their political interests which falls outside the scope of this short article.

[20] As Yildirim writes: “one of the earliest clubs in Turkey, Altınordu Kulübü, served as the bright symbol of Turkish nationalism of the Young Turk government of the Union and Progress, starting in 1914. The wildly successful run of the club in this time period goes hand in hand with the Union and Progress’ endorsement of the club as a ‘state club.’ In this transitional phase from the Ottoman Empire and Ottomanism to Turkish nationalism and a new Turkish nation-state, Altınordu proved a useful tool of ideological propaganda. Similarly, Günes Kulübü became a symbol of Ataturk’s newly-established Turkish Republic. The club would represent Ankara and its new symbol the Hittite Sun. The state support allowed the club to rise quickly in the Turkish soccer landscape, crowning its rise with a championship in the 1937–1938 season; this was a clear case of Kemalist involvement in the world of sports for ideological ends.” Yildirim, “Patronage and Industrial Football,” 7.

[21] Yildirim, “Patronage and Industrial Football.”

[22] Patrick Keddie, “Understanding Authoritarianism Through Soccer,” New Republic, May 7, 2018, https://newrepublic.com/article/148313/understanding-authoritarianism-soccer.

[23] “Pandora Papers Implicate Turkish Pro-Government Media Behemoth Demirören Holding,” Ahval, October 8, 2021, https://ahvalnews.com/pandora-papers/pandora-papers-implicate-turkish-pro-government-media-behemoth-demiroren-holding.

[24] James M. Dorsey, “Mixing Politics and Sports: Turkish Soccer Campaigns for President Erdogan,” Huff Post, March 28, 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/mixing-politics-and-sports-turkish-soccer-campaigns_b_58da140fe4b0e6062d9230af.

[25] “Hakan Şükür: Aziz Yıldırım şike yaptığını bana bizzat itiraf etti” [Hakan Şükür: Aziz Yıldırım personally confessed to me that he had match-fixed], Bold Medya, October 26, 2022, https://boldmedya.com/2022/10/26/hakan-sukur-aziz-yildirim-sike-yaptigini-bana-bizzat-itiraf-etti.

[26] “Galatasaray taraftarından ‘Mustafa Kemal’in askerleriyiz’ slogan” [‘We are the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal’ slogan from Galatasaray fans], Aydınlık, April 16, 2018, www.aydinlik.com.tr/haber/galatasaray-taraftarindan-mustafa-kemalin-askerleriyiz-slogani-87497.

[27] Elif Gençkal, “Football Fans and Unionists Booed Prime Minister,” Bianet, January 24, 2011, https://m.bianet.org/bianet/freedom-of-expression/127363-football-fans-and-unionists-booed-prime-minister.

[28] Dorian Jones, “Turkey: Soccer Fans Give New Meaning to Political Football,” Eurasia Net, September 23, 2013, https://eurasianet.org/turkey-soccer-fans-give-new-meaning-to-political-football.

[29] “‘Everywhere Taksim Everywhere Resistance’ Slogan Faces Ban,” Bianet, July 31, 2013, https://m.bianet.org/bianet/sports/148876-everywhere-taksim-everywhere-resistance-slogan-faces-ban.

[30] “Turkey: Football Fans on Trial for ‘Coup’,” Human Rights Watch, December 15, 2014, www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/15/turkey-football-fans-trial-coup.

[31] Patrick Keddie, “Could Turkish Football Collapse?” Middle East Eye, February 13, 2015, www.middleeasteye.net/features/could-turkish-football-collapse.

[32] “Başakşehirli Taraftarlar, Maça Gelen Erdoğan İçin ‘Başkomutan’ Pankartı Açtı” [Başakşehir Fans Unfurl a ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Banner for Erdoğan, Who Comes to the Match], August 3, 2017, Son Dakika, ww.sondakika.com/spor/haber-basaksehirli-taraftarlar-maca-gelen-erdogan-icin-9895837.

[33] “Skorboard’taki askeri operasyon görüntülerine Amedspor ve Sakaryaspor’dan farklı açıklamalar geldi” [Different explanations came from Amedspor and Sakaryaspor to the military operation images on the scoreboard], Futbol Medya, October 15, 2018,www.futbolmedya.com/skorboardtaki-askeri-operasyon-goruntulerine-amedspor-ve-sakaryaspordan-farkli-aciklamalar-geldi.

[34] “Mansur Yavaş, ‘Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’ tezahüratına böyle tepki verdi” [This is how Mansur Yavaş reacted to the ‘Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’ cheer], Cumhuriyet, November 5, 2022, www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/spor/mansur-yavas-recep-tayyip-erdogan-tezahuratina-boyle-tepki-verdi-1999918.

[35] Borzou Daragahi, “Turkey’s ‘Madonna’ Arrested for Deriding Erdogan’s Religious School Network,” Independent, August 26, 2022, www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/gulsen-bayraktar-colakoglu-arrested-turkey-b2153305.html.

[36] “Fenerbahçe tribünlerinden Gülşen’e şarkılı destek” [Singing support for Gülşen from Fenerbahçe stands], August 27, 2022, Gazet Duvar, www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/fenerbahce-tribunlerinden-gulsene-sarkili-destek-haber-1578780.

[37] “Beşiktaş taraftarından tezahürat: ‘Türkiye laiktir, laik kalacak’” [Cheering from Beşiktaş fans: ‘Türkiye is secular and will remain secular’], Cumhuriyet, August 30, 2022, www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/spor/besiktas-taraftarindan-tezahurat-turkiye-laiktir-laik-kalacak-1975106.

[38] “Uefa to Investigate Fenerbahce Fans’ Putin Chant during Dynamo Kyiv Game,” The Guardian, July 28, 2022, www.theguardian.com/football/2022/jul/28/uefa-investigate-fenerbahce-fans-vladimir-putin-chant-dynamo-kyiv-champions-league.

[39] “Fenerbahce Hit with Fine, Partial Stadium Closure After Fans’ ‘Putin’ Chants,” Radio Free Europe, August 6, 2022, www.rferl.org/a/fenerbahce-putin-chants-fine-ukraine-russia/31976365.html.

[40] “Iranian Officials React to Soccer Match with Political Overtones,” Radio Farda, November 3, 2019, https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iranian-officials-react-to-soccer-match-with-political-overtones/30250979.html.

[41] See Shahrokni’s article in this volume for discussion of these issues in Iran.

[42] “More Turkish Women Flock to Stadiums, Beşiktaş Boasts Most Female Supporters,” Daily Sabah, February 7, 2018, www.dailysabah.com/life/2018/02/07/more-turkish-women-flock-to-stadiums-besiktas-boasts-most-female-supporters.

[43] “Women and Children to Watch Football for Free,” Al Jazeera, September 30, 2011, www.aljazeera.com/sports/2011/9/30/women-and-children-to-watch-football-for-free.

[44] Constanze Letsch, “Fenerbahçe to Set Up Women-Only Spectators’ Area,” The Guardian, September 30, 2011, www.theguardian.com/football/2011/sep/30/fenerbahce-women-only-spectators-area.

[45] For more insights on the causes of decline in football stadium attendance in Turkey, see: Gökhan Çakmak and

Sevda Çiftçi, “Football Fans’ Views on the Passolig E-Ticket System and the Decrease in Stadium Attendance: The Case of the Turkish Football Super League,” Physical Culture and Sport: Studies and Research 92, no. 1 (2021): 9–18.

[46] “Fenerbahce Only Allowed to Admit Women and Children,” BBC, September 21, 2011, www.bbc.com/sport/football/14998237.

[47] Hannah Lucinda Smith, “The Sorry State of Turkish Football,” The Spectator, October 15, 2022, www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-sorry-state-of-turkish-football.

[48] Ece Toksabay, “Turkey Sending 3,000 Police to Qatar to Help Secure World Cup,” Reuters, September 23, 2022, www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/turkey-sending-3000-police-qatar-help-secure-world-cup-2022-09-23.