The women’s football teams of Turkish giants Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe have faced each other for the first time in history within the scope of the United Nations’ “Orange the World” campaign to protest femicides and violence against women in Istanbul late on Dec. 7.
The motto of Turkey’s first women’s football derby, which was played in Galatasaray’s Nef Stadium in front of a huge crowd, was to “End Violence Against Women.”
Among the spectators was Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanık. “We are here today for a very purposeful organization. Two teams will play a friendly derby which we will be happy to watch,” Yanık said before the match.
Thanking the two teams and their presidents for such an organization to raise awareness, the minister noted, “I hope that these kinds of events will help to lower the gendered discourse in football.”
Fenerbahçe won the match 7-0 with its British forward Shameeka Fishley being the first player making a hat-trick in a women’s football derby.
“Whatever the result is, women win tonight,” Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said after the match.
“We are against violence against women. This is an issue beyond politics,” he added and hoped “not to see any violent acts against women anywhere anytime.”
İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener took a seat at the stands, too. “End violence against women,” she repeated the match’s slogan at the beginning of her speech after the match.
“I hope this friendly match would be a good example against all kinds of discrimination in the country,” she said.“I wished the match finished with a draw,” she remarked jokingly.
Berdan Bozkurt, a scorer for the Yellow Canaries, dedicated their victory to “all girls and women of the country.”
Fatma Kara, another Fenerbahçe player, remarked on the importance of two giants’ establishing women’s football teams rather than the result of the match. “This is the first time that women teams play in front of such a big crowd. The score is not important,” she stated.
Fenerbahçe’s coach Nihan Su was excited while speaking after the match. “Historical night. I cannot describe my feelings,” she could only say after thanking her team and the fans.
Galatasaray was more on the “reproaching side.” The Lions’ coach Nurcan Çelik criticized the referee for showing a red card to a Galatasaray player at the fifth minute of the game.
“The score did not fit the meaning of the night. We fell victim to the referee. In a friendly match, she should not send my player out at the beginning of the match,” Çelik stated.
Çelik also targeted Fenerbahçe for the heavy defeat, saying, “If our opponent’s player was out at the fifth minute, we would not act like the same.”
Turkish Women’s Football League was first established in 1993. Some 16 teams competed until 2003. After a three-year break, the league started again in 2006.
The organization has given its second break in the 2019-2020 season due to the pandemic. With the help of the sponsors, the league is back in the 2021-2022 season with 24 teams, including Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor.
Fenerbahçe established its women’s team three months ago to support the league while Galatasaray’s history in women’s football goes way behind.
The Lions formed a women’s team in 2011 and competed in the league until 2016, the year the administration was no longer in a position to finance. The team was reformed again in September after the giant’s new president, Burak Elmas, was elected.T

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