In a recent Turkish Football Federation Second League match, Bursaspor suffered a 2-0 defeat at home against Diyarbekirspor, a team from the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed). The conclusion of the match was marred by violence, with Bursaspor players attacking their Diyarbekirspor counterparts near the pitch exit leading to the dressing rooms.
This incident has once again highlighted the issue of anti-Kurdish hostility within Turkish football, particularly the aggression displayed by fans of Bursaspor and other nationalist-leaning teams towards teams from Kurdish-majority cities.
However, unchecked anti-Kurdish hostility and ensuing racist attacks are not the only issues plaguing Turkish football. On-field violence and chaos, alongside financial fraud, are also prominent concerns. Istanbulspor’s withdrawal from a match against Trabzonspor over refereeing decisions on 19 December could lead to severe penalties. Meanwhile, Ankaragücü President Faruk Koca faces legal consequences for assaulting a referee on 11 December.
Additionally, the sport is grappling with a major financial scandal involving the ‘Fatih Terim Fund’, a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Seçil Erzan, a former branch manager at Denizbank. Named after the renowned Turkish football coach Fatih Terim, the scheme defrauded several investors, including well-known footballers, of millions of dollars. This scandal has even reached political levels, with reports of footballers Emre Belözoğlu and Arda Turan seeking President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s intervention to recover their investments.