Fenerbahce Sports Club in Turkey drives powerful campaign to urge for an end to violence against women


Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium. Photo: Fenerbahce Sports Club
Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium lit up in orange for the 16 Days. Photo: Fenerbahce Sports Club

Fenerbahce Sports Club, one of the biggest in Turkey, drove a powerful communications campaign for the 16 Days of Activism campaign to raise awareness about and call for the elimination of violence against women and girls.

On 25 November, Fenerbahce lit up its football stadium in orange in support of the campaign and to symbolize a world free from violence. Simla Türker Bayazıt, a member of the Executive Board of Fenerbahce Sports Club, spoke to Fenerbahce TV about the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and Fenerbahce’s planned activities. “We condemn all forms of violence, oppression and discrimination against women and girls. We invite all our stakeholders with whom we share the unifying power of sports, regardless of their teams and colors, to stand with us as an impenetrable wall to stop violence against women,” she said.

During 16 days, different experts from UN Women, academia and civil society organisations went on Fenerbahce TV and addressed how to combat violence against women and girls from different perspectives.

Fenerbahce Sports Club joined forces with the HeForShe movement in 2018 with the support of Tüpraş, one of the companies under Koc Holding, an Impact Champion of HeForShe, to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in sport across the country. The Club's fan base is estimated to be more than 25 million people from all around the world.

Fenerbahce announced a manifesto to call for action to combat violence against women. Famous athletes of Fenerbahce from 9 different branches such as volleyball, basketball, boxing, table-tennis, athletics, rowing, sailing, football and swimming spoke up and said: “Violence against women is a crime. Don’t be a bystander! Don’t be a part of it!”. The same manifesto was dubbed by a famous Turkish actor and an actress and the video was distributed on national TV channels as a public service announcement (PSA) during 16 Days.


On 28 November, Fenerbahce Sports Club organized a symbolic run to raise awareness about the importance of unity and solidarity for combating violence against women. Fenerbahce athletes from 9 different branches, employees and two members of the Executive Board participated in the run.

Fenerbahce sports teams holding banners condemning violence against women. Photo: Fenerbahce Sports Club
Fenerbahce sports team is holding a banner condemning violence against women. Photo: Fenerbahce Sports Club

From 25 November to 10 December, various sports teams of Fenerbahce held banners that read “Violence against women is a crime. Don’t be a bystander! Don’t be a part of it!” ahead of their matches.

"Sports for All" seminar. Photo:  Fenerbahce Sports Club
Students were engaged in the discussion during "Sports for All" seminar. Photo:  Fenerbahce Sports Club

On 9 December, a seminar called "Sports for All" was held for the students of Fenerbahçe College. UN Women Turkey HeForShe Project Coordinator, Sinem Aydın, introduced UN Women to the students and talked about the collaboration with Fenerbahce Sports Club. Professor Canan Koca Arıtan from the Faculty of Sports Sciences of Hacettepe University spoke about gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment in sports. She introduced role model athletes who challenged gender stereotypes and myths in sports such as male ballet dancer, and female athlete prized in Ultra Marathon. “You have rights to do any kind of sports, regardless of your gender,” she concluded.