February 20, 2018

2017-18 Süper Lig (Turkey/1st division): Map, with titles list & seasons-in-1st-division; with list of largest cities in Turkey and their representation in Süper Lig./Plus, top three scorers in Süper Lig, and the player with the most assists (after 22 weeks of the 2017-18 season).

Filed under: Turkey — admin @ 4:10 pm

2017-18 Süper Lig (Turkey/1st division): Map, with titles list, seasons-in-1st-division; with list of largest cities in Turkey and their representation in Süper Lig

By Bill Turianski on 20 February 2018;
-Turkish SüperLig – fixtures, results, table (
-Hakan Sukur – Turkey’s fallen hero who can never return home (by Bob Lewis at The Observer on 18 Feb. 2018 via
-{Note: you can see 17/18 Turkish 1st division attendances here, but attendance figures in Turkey are spotty and incomplete. Attendance from past years is also incomplete; the following link is the best that one can find this subject,}

I decided to post a map of the Turkish Süper Lig this late in the season, because unlike in England, Germany, Spain, and France, there is an actual title-race going on in the Turkish 1st division right now. Not only is there a title race in Turkey, there is a chance that an untitled club can claim the Turkish title. That club is İstanbul Başakşehir FK. As of 20 February 2018, Başakşehir are currently in 1st place in Süper Lig, ahead of both Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, by 2 points.

İstanbul Başakşehir.
Başakşehir, est. 1990, are a relatively new, municipally-supported team. They are located in the western outer-suburbs of Istanbul, in a district (also called Başakşehir), that has only existed, on paper, for about a decade. Başakşehir play at the 17-K-capacity Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium, a municipal stadium which is 25 km (15 mi) northwest of central Istanbul, and which opened in 2014. {Photos of Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium (}

In their three previous seasons, İstanbul Başakşehir had back-to-back 4th place finishes, before a 2nd-place finish in 2016-17. Başakşehir have a very small fan-base, drawing only around 4-to-5-K-per-game these days. But, in fact, the team was only drawing about 100 or so before they first joined the top flight in 2006. And, after a relegation, and then a promotion back to Süper Lig in 2014, Başakşehir were only drawing 2.6 K per game. But that was before their recent success in the last couple of seasons, and before a sub-culture of fans latched onto them…students protesting fan-violence in Turkish football.

A very large share of Başakşehir’s new fans are students who support the club out of protest…”The fact that the majority of their supporters, known as the Grey Owls, are mostly university students is an interesting story in itself. Rather than fiercely passionate and loyal fans of the club, they actually began following it simply as a means to protest against the violence that had become the norm among Turkish football fans in the years prior.” {-Quote from The Turkish Leicester City? A look at Istanbul Basaksehir’s rise by Mark Molyneux on 20 Jan 2017 at}…”We started to support the club to show that there is another way,” said Basaksehir supporter Alperen. “We wanted to show it’s possible to follow football without conflict.” {-Quote from Istanbul Basaksehir: From crowds of 100 to top of the Turkish league by Steve Crossmann on 25 Nov 2016 at}

Başakşehir’s lack of a large and vociferous fan-base has actually helped it attract on-field talent, because many players find the atmosphere so stress-free that they can thrive there. And there are some well-known, if a little bit past-their-prime, players wearing the Basaksehir orange these days…former internationals such as GK Volkan Babacan, DF Gaël Clichy, Winger Eljero Elia, AMF Arda Turan, FW Mevlüt Erdinç, and FW Emmanuel Adebayor. There is also a not-as-well-known, but very crucial player, on Başakşehir right now. That is the Bosnian MF/Winger/playmaker Edin Višća, age 28. Višća was selected by one media outlet as the 3rd-best player in Super Lig in 2016-17, and he currently leads the league in assists (see his photo and caption further below). Başakşehir’s manager, the former Turkish national team coach Abdullah Avcı, has been accused of playing hyper-defensive anti-football. But lack of funds has forced him, through canny transfers on a minuscule budget, to field a defensive-minded counter-attacking side. (Başakşehir, along with Beşiktaş, have the stingiest defenses in Süper Lig, currently, with an average of 0.95-goals-allowed-per-game.) Again, look at the 54-year-old Abdullah Avcı’s results since he took over at Başakşehir (for his second spell there in charge there) in June 2014: 4th place in 2014-15, 4th place in 2015-16, 2nd place in 2016-17, and now 1st place currently [20 Feb 2018].

There is one problem with this quasi-fairy-tale story…İstanbul Başakşehir are funded by the types of anti-democratic reactionaries who are running the Turkish government these days: politicians with close ties to the authoritarian President Erdogan, as well as Erdogan family members. (And Erdogan was at the opening of the club’s new stadium in 2014 to “bless” the whole IBFK project.) So, when all things are truly parsed, Başakşehir are really not so much the well-meaning neutral’s favorite. As this thread on Reddit/soccer attests.

The map page…
The map shows the stadium-locations of the 18 Süper Lig clubs of 2017-18 (also see two paragraphs below for more on that). Alongside the club’s crests are their 17/18 home kits. At the right-hand-side of the map page is the Turkish 1st division (Süper Lig) titles list (1959-2017). I would have shown attendances but you cannot rely on attendance figures from Turkish football; some seasons there are no attendance figures to be found anywhere, and even when there are attendances reported, many games’ crowd figures go unreported {like here}.

At the lower-right of the map-page is a list of the cities of Turkey (with metro-area population estimates from 2015;”>source). The 15 largest cities in Turkey are listed, then the rest of the list comprises the other cities in the country which currently have Süper Lig representation. As you can see by the lower portion of that list, the Turkish football pyramid is competitive enough that clubs from rather small cities are able to punch above their weight, and find a way into Süper Lig. Currently, one third of the teams that comprise the Turkish 1st division are from cities whose metro-areas have less than 400,000 inhabitants. And three of those clubs are from cities that have a metro-area population of less than 150,00, including the club from Akhisar (see next paragraph).

There has been quite a lot of new football stadia built in Turkey in the last few years, like 30 new venues, and one venue just opened in late January. Akhisar Belediyespor, of Akhisar, in west-central Anatolia, opened their new 11.4-K-capacity Spor Toto Akhisar Belediye Stadı. Ever since Akhisar won their first-ever promotion to Süper Lig in 2012, the club had been forced to play 50 km (30 mi) away, in Manisa. Despite this, and despite the fact that locally-based Akhisar supporters had to round-trip-travel around 100 km per home game, Akhisar have been able to consolidate their postion in the Turkish top flight. (With finishes of 14th, 10th, 12th, 8th, and 7th place last season [they currently sit 12th].) {Here is an aerial shot of the stadium (} In case you’re wondering, the green designs on the roof depict olive leaves, which are also seen on Akhisar’s crest, and are a symbol of the city of Akhisar, which is the largest producer of olive oil in the country.

Top three scorers in Süper Lig, plus the player with the most assists (after 22 weeks of the 2017-18 season)…
Photo credits above – Burak Yılmaz (Trabzonspor), photo unattributed at Bafétimbi Gomis (Galatasaray), photo by Eskim/Icon Sport via Adis Jahović (Göztepe/Konyaspor), photo from Edin Višća (Başakşehir), photo by Andy Astfalck/Getty Images Europe via

Thanks to all at the following…
-Blank map of Turkey by NordNordWest at (
-Süper Lig (
-Süper Lig (, for stats.

WordPress database error: [Table 'bil072291136157.wp_comments' doesn't exist]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_approved = '1' AND comment_post_ID = 44434 ORDER BY comment_date_gmt ASC

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress