ISTANBUL, Turkey- Turkish league leaders Istanbul Basaksehir on Saturday announced they had reached an agreement to sign midfielder Arda Turan on loan from FC Barcelona before the player’s homecoming sparked an embarrassing airport brawl.
“Arda Turan is returning to his country wearing the orange kit (of Basaksehir). This is not just a transfer for Basaksehir, but a transfer for all of Turkey,” club president Goksel Gumusdag said in a statement.
In a tweet, the club shared a video of a crossword being filled in with the key answers being “Arda Turan.” Barcelona also confirmed the deal in a statement.
“FC Barcelona and Istanbul Basaksehir FK agree on a loan deal for the Turkish player for the remainder of the season and two more,” said the Spanish league leaders.
Turan was welcomed by around a hundred supporters wearing orange scarves at Istanbul Ataturk airport on Saturday evening and holding “Welcome Arda Turan” signs.
However, a brawl erupted at one point between fans and the police as Turan arrived while one fan fainted.
The crowd shouted angry slogans at the police: “We are not terrorists but supporters!”
Turan was in high spirits, smiling and waving at the crowd, telling reporters he was “very happy” with the move.
“I’m here not just for short-term goals, but for long-term success,” he was quoted as saying by Hurriyet daily.
One fan was excited about the transfer and what it meant for the Basaksehir’s future.
“Arda is an experienced player who can help us do big things in European competitions in the coming years,” 33-year-old Veysel told AFP.
Basaksehir have risen rapidly over the last two seasons to rival the established Istanbul triumvirate of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.
Turan issued a heartfelt farewell message on Twitter, explaining that playing for Barcelona was a “wildest dream” and he was “proud” to make it happen.
The 30-year-old joined Barcelona in 2015 after four successful seasons with Atletico Madrid but has been unable to hold down a first team place.
Turan receives an annual salary of around eight million euros at the Catalan club, according to Spanish media.
He quit international football last June after former coach Fatih Terim threw him out of a training camp following a fracas with a reporter on a plane.
Turan then declared two months later he was ready for a recall.
Turan has also expressed open support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attending rallies to back “my commander-in-chief” following the July 2016 attempted coup.