Turkey: The curious case of Adana stadium

source: StadiumDB.com; author: michał

Turkey: The curious case of Adana stadium It was supposed to open in 2016. Then in 2017, then 2018. OK, but early 2019 just had to be the date, right? Nope, as of now the new stadium won't open until early to mid-2020, despite having been physically ready for months. And we just don't know why...


Construction of the new 33,000-seater in Adana is different than most Turkish projects of this kind. Usually they come quite cheap and don't take long to erect. Meanwhile here groundbreaking took place back in 2014 and so far there's no end to the project, even if numerous assurances guaranteed it should have been done long ago.

Initial deadline for delivery, upon presentation of the initial design, was set for 2015, but that proved unrealistic very soon, seeing works only begin the year before. It was thus switched to 2016. In mid-2015 progress was estimated officially at 25% (as confirmed by project manager Osman Belen) with 250 workers on site, expected to reach 450-500 at peak. All the effort in order to deliver the stadium in 2016.

Adana Stadyumu© anil_atar

Except the stadium wasn't completed. Indeed, by the end of 2016 the main concrete structure and compression ring of the roof were in place but it was far from delivered. Very little progress was then made in 2017, though the stadium was promised to be ready for the 2017/18 season and then in 2018.

And yet by October of 2018 the overall progress only reached 90%. In fact, almost all of 2018 was spent on mounting of the roof structure and facades, hardly fitting numerous declarations that workers are on the site 24/7 to ensure fast delivery. Local AKP representative Jülide Sarıeroğlu had then assured fans of Adanaspor and Adana Demirspor that they would be able to enter the stadium in early 2019.

Of course that didn't happen at all. By January progress was pushed to 97%, though no major element aside from the roof and facade cladding was worked on. Mustafa Karslıoğlu of the Adana Public Contractors Association ensured the community at that point that only 2 months of further delays would happen, supposedly due to long import time of membranes and mesh adorning the stadium.

Adana Stadyumu© KozaStadyum

So they've opened it by now, right? Nope, as of today construction itself is complete but the stadium lacks almost all of its equipment. And it doesn't make any sense to many people, not just us. The issue was raised at the municipal/provincial level by representatives like İsmail Koncuk and then even in the Turkish parliament (!) by CHP's Dr. Müzeyyen Şevkin. All to no response from the bodies responsible.

It's thus no wonder that there are conspiracy theories (some only surfacing as a joke) that it's a form of punishment by the ruling AK Party for lack of support in local elections. Or that it has to be like that because major projects in Adana never go as planned. Or that someone wanted the Adana football teams to be relegated before moving in to the new stadium, which did happen to Adanaspor.

But perhaps more likely is a combination of economic factors (for example, the project relied partly on imports and foreign specialists while the lira had collapsed) and red tape. The stadium is being built by more than one entity. While started by TOKI, it's going to be finished by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

It's precisely that ministry that is expected to cover the cost of all crucial equipment, like the playing field, seats, floodlighting, sound system and landscaping. Tender for these elements saw opening of the bids in recent days and winning contender is expected to deliver them in 100 days. Which suggests readiness for opening in early to mid-2020. But you know, it was supposed to be opened so many times already...