Er­do­gan opens new Trab­zon­spor sta­dium

Kuwait Times - - NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan yes­ter­day opened the new 40,000-plus ca­pac­ity sta­dium of Turk­ish foot­ball team Trab­zon­spor, the lat­est am­bi­tious in­fra­struc­ture project to take shape in the coun­try. Er­do­gan cut the cer­e­mo­nial open­ing rib­bon along­side vis­it­ing Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad Al-Thani of Qatar, one of Ankara’s top al­lies. The sta­dium, spec­tac­u­larly lo­cated on Trab­zon’s Black Sea coast, is said to be the most modern in Turkey with a ca­pac­ity of al­most 41,500. Con­struc­tion be­gan in 2013.

Er­do­gan has spear­headed a drive to build new sta­di­ums, air­ports, bridges and tun­nels across Turkey. On Tues­day he will in­au­gu­rate the first road tun­nel un­der the Bospho­rus in Istanbul. The pres­i­dent ad­mit­ted that the killing of 14 Turk­ish sol­diers on Satur­day in an at­tack blamed on Kur­dish mil­i­tants had cast a shadow over the open­ing. But he added: “The fight against ter­ror will con­tinue with­out a break and we will make our in­vest­ments, bring our projects to life and reach our tar­gets.”

Trab­zon­spor have tra­di­tion­ally been the only club from out­side Istanbul to chal­lenge the dom­i­na­tion of teams from the mega city, pick­ing up six Turk­ish league ti­tles. But the last of those ti­tles dates back to the 1983-84 sea­son and the club has been go­ing through a thin pe­riod, cur­rently only stand­ing in 11th place in the league. Trab­zon­spor are also known for their fa­nat­i­cal fan base who fre­quently al­lege a bias in fa­vor of the Istanbul sides and are proud to be hated by ev­ery­one else in Turkey.

Their stand­out player of all time was Turk­ish in­ter­na­tional goal­keeper Senol Gunes who played a role in win­ning all of its ti­tles, man­aged Turkey to third place in the 2002 World Cup and is now en­joy­ing suc­cess as man­ager of Be­sik­tas in Istanbul. There were sugges­tions that the sta­dium could be named af­ter Er­do­gan - who hails from the nearby Rize re­gion - but the pres­i­dent con­firmed the honor had gone to Gunes. “We de­cided to name it Senol Gunes sta­dium,” he said, don­ning a scarf in the club’s claret and blue col­ors. — AFP

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