President Erdogan opens new Besiktas stadium in Istanbul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurates brand new Istanbul waterfront stadium of Besiktas football club

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the brand new Istanbul waterfront stadium of the Besiktas football club on April 10, 2016.

Updated Apr 11, 2016

Besiktas, one of Turkey’s most successful football clubs, returned home Sunday with the opening of their new 42,000-seat stadium overlooking the Bosphorous.

The club, which currently tops the Super Lig, has been forced to play at stadia around the country for the last three years while the old Inonu Stadium - Besiktas’s home since 1947 - was rebuilt.

The new ground, renamed the Vodafone Arena in a rights deal, sits on the same site as its predecessor overlooking the strait separating Europe and Asia and the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace.

The inauguration on Sunday was attended by dignitaries including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and former President Abdullah Gul, as well as club President Fikret Orman and hundreds of supporters.

“This is a historical day, because the Eagle is returning home,” Davutoglu said in a reference to the club’s nickname.

On Monday, the team will play their first game at the ground, an evening kick-off against Bursaspor.

Unveiling some of the stadium’s modern features, Orman said it was Turkey’s first “smart” stadium, boasting high speed Wi-Fi and StadiumVision technology on screens throughout the ground.

It also boasts solar energy panels and will recycle rain to water the pitch.

Construction of the $100 million arena began in June 2013.

“Besiktas actually deserved such a stadium a long time ago,” Erdogan said.

The Vodafone Arena is the latest in a line of new football stadia being built that Turkey hopes will allow it to host international sporting tournaments.

TRTWorld, AA