KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region – Beshiktas, a Turkish football club, has opened its first football academy in Kirkuk for the province's Turkmen club, becoming the first such sports facility opened by the club in Iraq.
The organizers raised 16 different Turkmen flags in a ceremony, implying the existence of Turkmens in 16 different countries.
The academy is in association with the Turkmen sports Club in Kirkuk.
Beshiktas officials were present in the ceremony say that it is party of the club's outreach to their fans everywhere.
"The Betishktashi group has promised to help the youth," Cengiz Sari Kehi, an official from the Turkish club told Rudaw. "One of our important aims is to serve our fans everywhere. Through this, we want to make Betishktashi a club for all.
Players aged 6 to 14 can benefit from the academy. It will have 3 different branches in the multi-ethnic province of Kirkuk where Kurds, Turkmens, and Arabs live.
A Turkmen official from the local club maintained that it will be a club for all.
"This school is hopefully for all people in Kirkuk," Ziyad Qadir, from the Turkmen sports club said addign that the club will start its sports activities before the end of the next week.
The Betishktashi club is a European club. It wants to benefit from the potential of the youth through opening these academies.
It has opened six football academies in the world, including in Germany and the Netherlands.
The Turkish club has made some money in any country it opened football academies. They academy in Kirkuk is for the sake of Turkmen for which they don’t ask for any money. They even sponsor the annual cost of the academy.