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Erdoğan-backed Başakşehir wins Turkish title for first time

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Başakşehir won the Turkish title for the first time on Sunday, ending the dominance of the city’s big three clubs, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Başakşehir, formerly the İstanbul municipality team established in 1990, captured the title following a 1-0 win over Kayserispor, while second-placed Trabzonspor was beaten 4-3 by Konyaspor. Between them, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş have won the Süper Lig title 54 times, but they were unable to compete on this occasion.

The club has come close to winning the league in recent years, finishing second twice in the previous three seasons but falling just short. The big three have huge fan bases, while Başakşehir has few supporters to fill the stands in their 17,000 capacity stadium.

Their name was changed to Başakşehir in 2014 when they moved to a new stadium in the İstanbul district of the same name, a stronghold of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The then-Prime Minister Erdoğan played in the club’s orange uniform in an exhibition match to mark the occasion.

The club’s chair, Göksel Gümüşdağ is a relative of Erdoğan. Last year, Erdoğan caused controversy among sports fans when he said he was proud of Başakşehir because it was a team that he started.

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