Basaksehir: Turkey’s ‘pro-government’ football club is topping the league – and dividing opinions over its success

Cagil Kasapoglu

BBC Turkish

The Turkish football league has been dominated by three major Istanbul teams for decades.
But in a country where political divisions are as deep as the love of football, the sudden rise of an upstart club to the top of the league table is the story on everyone’s lips – not least because of the club’s links to the government.
The club in question is Basaksehir, another Istanbul team, shaking the monopoly on trophies that historical giants Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas had always enjoyed – until now.
So what is behind Basaksehir’s rapid ascent? Is it a story of sporting success, or as many of President Erdogan’s opponents claim, a political attempt to influence the nation’s most popular game?
To find an answer, I first went to see Basaksehir fans.