Esports Around The World: Turkey

Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.

Esports Around The World Turkey


Turkey is a country situated in West Asia, with a smaller part located in Southeast Europe. It’s a country with an enormous cultural heritage and is known as the gateway to the East. Turkey has a long tradition of sports, and esports are no different — the country has hosted various international tournaments and has teams that regularly perform well abroad.

Turkey’s first established esports team was Dark Passage in Counter-Strike, created back in 2003. The country has since birthed dozens of esports organisations, including the likes of Eternal Fire and FUT Esports, as well as well-regarded players such as İsmailсan ‘XANTARES’ Dörtkardeş and Özgür ‘woxic’ Eker, both currently signed to Turkish organisation Eternal Fire. Eternal Fire is currently ranked 7th in the world on HLTV’s Counter-Strike rankings as of the time of writing. 

The country is also home to several notable PUBG players, including Zekeriya ‘Calse’ Unlu, Mehmet ‘RayZ’ Kastal and Berkin ‘Sylas’ Çetin. PUBG Mobile is the game in which Turkish players have earned the most money via prize pools, according to Esports Earnings.

The interest in esports for Turkish companies and teams has been on the rise in recent years, and two of the country’s teams are currently partner teams for Riot Games’ VALORANT league VCT EMEA (BBL Esports and FUT Esports). The Turkish Championship League in League of Legends previously seeded teams to the League of Legends World Championship for years, but was downgraded to seed teams into the EMEA Masters in 2023. The country also has its own VALORANT Challengers League, which seeds teams to the Ascension tournament for VCT EMEA. Turkey additionally has the MTC Turkiye Championship in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, which seeds teams into the MSC tournament. 

Being a nation that enjoys sports, it is no surprise that a number of major Turkish football clubs have their esports divisions and teams that are successful in national and international competitions. These include Galatasaray Esports, Fenerbahce Esports and Besiktas Esports. Interestingly, Besiktas Esports holds a Guinness World Record for being the first sports team to acquire an esports team and create an official esports team.

Arguably the largest-ever esports tournament to take place in Turkey was the 2022 edition of the VALORANT Champions, which took place in the Volkswagen Arena in Istanbul. Istanbul was also home to the Global Esports Games in 2022. Riot Games opened one of its largest esports venues to date in Istanbul in 2019, which seats 1,000.

Turkey has recognised esports as a sport and regards esports athletes as equal to those playing any other sport. Esports was recognised as a sport in Turkey back in 2011, and the regulations have been improved and enhanced several times to date. The Turkish Esports Federation is directly tied to the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the country and helps grant visas and licences to esports players, among other things.

Government recognition

Esports is considered a sport in Turkey, with all the rights and obligations that follow. Turkey granted esports equal rights to traditional sports more than 10 years ago.

Notable Tournaments & Leagues

Turkey has several national leagues in a variety of games, and its teams also take part in various international leagues, many in the MENA and EMEA regions.

eTürkiye Kupası 2024Turkish Championship League
MTC Turkiye ChampionshipVALORANT Champions 2022
Open Fire All-StarsVALORANT Challengers Turkey
PUBG Mobile Pro League Turkey

Notable Esports Organisations

Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.

BBL EsportsFenerbahce Esports
Besiktas EsportsFUT Esports
Dark PassageGalatasaray Esports
Eternal FirePapara SuperMassive

National Association(s) / Federation(s)

Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works, or official capacity.

Turkish Esports Federation

Education initiatives

There are several education projects that utilise gaming in Turkey. Bahçeşehir University was the first educational institution to create an esports scholarship in the country. Other schools are more focused on game development and similar topics, with not a lot of focused esports-specific education ventures.

This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at [email protected]. First published: May 3rd 2024.

Esports Insider