Turkey’s national plan to improve its sports infrastructure for its youthful population remains a strong commitment at government level despite Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Olympic Games falling just short.
Turkey’s state-run housing agency, TOKI, continues to undertake a comprehensive sports investment programme which includes the construction of 20 stadiums and an indoor 20,000 capacity arena. The agency’s Chairman Ahmet Haluk Karabel affirmed its commitment in a recent press interview with the Anadolu Agency. Karabel said:
We’re carrying out the most comprehensive investments in sports history in cooperation with the Sports Ministry.
TOKİ has already completed the construction of two stadiums, Türk Telekom Arena, which is the home stadium of Galatasaray, and Mersin Stadium, which was used during this summer’s Mediterranean Games held in the southern province of Mersin. Karabel added:
In addition, tenders for 11 stadiums have been conducted and their construction has begun. Meanwhile, there are seven stadiums waiting at the tender and preparation process.
Other high profile projects include Inonu stadium on the Istanbul seafront and the ‘Crocodile’ stadium in Bursa (pictured in construction, courtesy bursaspor). Izmir, Trabzon and Ankara all have plans for new venues.
Inonu is the home stadium of Besiktas football club and is also a regular concert venue, hosting Rhianna and Snoop Dog among others this summer.
As outlined at Stadia & Arena Istanbul 2013, Turkey’s football clubs are proactive in their marketing efforts, including an integrated ticketing system and tentative plans for a super league.
Turkey’s national plan is more about facilities that provide sporting opportunities, such as those left in legacy at Mersin. Smaller towns are in the construction phase of stadiums ranging in capacity from 11,400 to 15,000.