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Istanbul (Turkey): Sports flags

Last modified: 2018-07-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: istanbul | fenerbahçe | galatasaray | medipol başakşehir |
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Football clubs


[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of Fenerbahçe, two verions - Images by Onur Özgün & Ivan Sache, 22 June 2018

Fenerbahçe was founded nearly a century ago in Kadiköy by Nurizade Ziya Songülen, Ayetullah and Necip Okaner. This group of individuals founded the club secretly in order to keep a low profile and not get into any trouble with the strict Ottoman rule. So strict that Sultan Abdulhamit II forbid the Turkish youth to set up a club and to engage in the football game played by the English families, which was watched in envy.
Until a change of legislation in 1908, Fenerbahçe’s activities were obtained under strict secrecy. After this date however, the new law required that clubs must register in order to exist legally. From that day on, the club was to take its place among the top of the Turkish club’s and achieve much success.
Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü's first football team joined the Istanbul League in 1909 but achieved nothing in its first three seasons. In the 1912-1913 season the team won the first championship of the club. Apart from being the first championship it had more significance as it was won without a single defeat throughout the season.

The flag of Fenerbahçe (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is horizontally divided yellow-blue-yellow-blue with the club's emblem. The flag is also used with the Turkish national flag in canton (photo, photo).
The color specification are given as (club website):

Yellow  Pantone Yellow c
Blue    Pantone 288c
Red     Pantone 485c
Green   Pantone 361c

The five-colored emblem was designed by Topuz Hikmet who played left wing in 1910 and was made by Tevfik Haccar (Taşcı) in London. The white ring inscribed with the writing "Fenerbahçe Spor Kulubu 1907" represents purity and open heartedness. The red section represents love and attachment to the club and symbolizes the Turkish flag. The yellow middle section symbolizes admiration and envy, while the blue sections symbolize nobility. The oak leaves and acorn that rises from the blue and yellow sections shows the power of Fenerbahçe. The green color shows the success of Fenerbahçe.

Topuz Hikmet described the story of the emblem as follows:
"After the change of the club's colors from yellow and white to yellow and blue, it was an issue to create an emblem with our new colors. My friends left the design of this emblem to me.
Firstly, I brought together the colors of our national flag, red and white. Then I drew a heart shape over the red and gave it a yellow and blue color, adding an oak branch that represents resistance, power and strength. I wrote the club name and foundation date on the white section. When drawing our emblem, I tried to give this meaning: "Serving the club with dependence from heart."
The design was liked by my friends and our new emblem was made through the guidance of Tevfik Haccar, who was in Germany at that time. After the new alphabet was approved, the design was maintained, but the club name on the emblem was changed to "Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü - 1907".

The first emblem of the club featured the lighthouse situated on Fenerbahçe Cape, whilst the first colors of the club were white and yellows, taken from the the daffodils that grew profusely on Fenerbahçe peninsula.
[ Club website]

Onur Özgün & Ivan Sache, 22 June 2018


[Flag of Galatasaray]

Flag of Galatasaray - Image by Onur Özgün, 27 June 2003

The club's emblem was designed in 1923 by Ayetullah Emin, a student at the Galatasaray High School (website). Emin used a complicated mathematical formula to draw the emblem. The Ottoman letters gayn - qin were changed to the Latin letters "G" - "S" in 1926. The Galatasaray Sports Club, founded in 1905 within the High School, adopted Emin's emblem, charged with the foundation year of the club.

Ivan Sache, 27 June 2003

[Unofficial flag]

Unofficial flag of Galatasaray - Image by António Martins, 4 July 2004

Yahoo! News showed a picture with Flavio Conceição displaying his new club Galatasaray's flag. The flag shown seems to have only two stripes, instead of the four of the official flag.

James Dignan, 1 July 2004

Today, while I was sitting on the sidewalk across the street from my building, a man pedaled by on a special bicycle designed for disabled people. His vehicle was flying a small Turkish flag on the front, and a larger Turkish flag on the back, along with a similarly sized flag I didn't recognize. I ran after him; he told me he was indeed Turkish, and I inquired about the other flag. He replied that it was a football flag. I found it's a variant of the Galatasaray Istanbul flag. The differences with the official flag are:
- There were eight red and yellow horizontal stripes instead of four;
- The object in the center was a white circle instead of a white ellipse;
- The insignia on the circle was the third of the four variants shown on the Galatasaray High School website:
- The "1905" was at the bottom of the circle.

Lewis Nowitz, 24 April 2004


Graeme Souness' flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 June 2017

The Intercontinental Derby that opposes Galatasaray (Europe) to Fenerbahçe (Asia) is considered as among the hottest derbies in the world.
In 1966, the final of the Turkish Cup opposed the two rival clubs, Galatasaray won the first leg at home (1-0) and eventually won the cup on 24 April 1996 in their rival's stadium (1-1 after extra time). To celebrate the victory, Galatasaray's hot-headed Scottish coach, Graeme Souness (b. 1953) ran to the central circle of the field and planted there a giant red and yellow-striped flag (video). This is considered as one of the most emblematic events in the Intercontinental Derby, and, generally, in Turkish football.
Souness' act of bravado nearly sparkled a riot in the stadium; how he managed to safely leave the stadium is still a part of the legend. Souness was soon nicknamed "Ulubatlı Souness", for the Turkish hero Ulubatlı Hasan (1428-1453) who planted the Ottoman flag on the walls of Constantinople and defended it until death.
The giant flag is horizontally divided into ten stripes, in turn red and yellow.

Ivan Sache, 4 June 2017

Istanbul Başakşehir


Flag of Istanbul Başakşehir - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 March 2016

Medipol Başakşehir Futbol Kulübü was originally known as İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor (İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality's Municipal Club). The club was renamed Başakşehir Futbol Kulübü in 2014 following the municipality's withdrawal. It took in 2015 the name of its main sponsor, Medipol Eğitim ve Sağlık Grubu (Medipol Education and Health Group).
[Hürriyet, 25 May 2015]

The flag of Medipol Başakşehir (photo) is white with the club's emblem in the middle, surmounting the club's full name written in blue letters.

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2016



Flag of İstanbulspor - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 November 2016

İstanbulspor (İstanbulspor A.Ş.) was established in 1926 by students form the Istanbul High School (İstanbul Erkek Lisesi, IEL). The club was managed by the Istanbul High School Foundation until 1990, when purchased by Uzan Holding. After the withdrawal of Uzan in 2001, the club fell into financial crisis. Taken over in 2003 by the government, İstanbulspor was successively acquired by Saffet Sancaklı (2006) and Ömer Sarıalioğlu (2007. Relegated to Third League in 2010, the club was eventually proposed to Second League in 2015.
İstanbulspor played for 23 seasons in the top league (1958-1967, 1968-1972, and 1995-2005), achieving its best season in 1998 (4th) and qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

The flag of İstanbulspor (photo) is yellow with the club's emblem in the middle.
The club's emblem is made of the emblem of the Istanbul High School with the national flag added in canton.

Ivan Sache, 27 November 2016

Yacht clubs

Istanbul Sailing Club

[Flag of Istanbul Sailing Club]         [Burgee of Istanbul Sailing Club]

Flag and burgee of the Istanbul Sailing Club - Images by Ivan Sache, 26 May 2012

The Istanbul Sailing Club (website), founded on 2 February 1952, is the oldest and biggest yacht club in Turkey, with more than 3,000 members. The club was granted the statute of a "society of public interests". Among its founding members was Captain Ruhi Sarialp, who won with his crew a bronze medal in the London Olympics (1948, Triple Jump series). More recently, club member Enver Adakan ranked 8th in the Sydney Olympics (2000, Finn series).

The flag of the IYK is white, divided by a blue horizontal Y-like cross. A white star inside a red disc is placed over the cross. The club's burgee is a triangular version of the flag.

[Burgee of Istanbul Sailing Club]

Older burgee of the Istanbul Sailing Club (?) - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 May 2012

A souvenir plaque dated 1940 shows a rower from the club and a red burgee with a white star. This predates the foundation of the modern club (1952). The white star within the red disk seems to have been taken from this early burgee.

Ivan Sache, 26 May 2012

Turkish Offshore Racing Club

[Burgee of Turkish Offshore RC]

Burgee of the TAYK - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 June 2002

The burgee of the TAYK (website) is red with a white three-pointed star.

Ivan Sache, 22 June 2002