Istanbul club Besiktas fans have thrown thousands of stuffed toys on the field in a symbol of solidarity with children who were affected by the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye.
Sunday’s Besiktas vs. Fraport TAV Antalyaspor game at Istanbul’s Vodafone Park was paused at 4 minutes 17 seconds after the kick off in memory of the earthquake which struck at 4.17 am local time (0117GMT).
After the major Türkiye earthquakes, the Istanbul football powerhouse started a heartwarming campaign asking fans to bring stuffed toys to Besiktas’ home ground Vodafone Park.
The toys will be donated to children in the earthquake-hit regions.
On the scoreboard at the stadium, the license plate codes of the 11 Turkish provinces jolted by the quakes flashed.
Football players of both clubs including those in the substitutes benches volunteered to remove the toys from the pitch.
At least 44,374 people have died in two strong earthquakes that shook southern Türkiye on February 6, an official from the nation’s disaster management agency AFAD said on Sunday.
The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes were centred in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa. More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.
Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in the space of less than 10 hours.