Ex-Chelsea player Christian Atsu was at the epicenter of the earthquake. And football legend Demirel recorded a heartbreaking video.
Today, February 6, a series of large earthquakes occurred in Turkey. The maximum magnitude is 7.8 (out of 10 possible). According to the latest information from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, more than a thousand people were killed, and more than five thousand were injured. The epicenter of the shocks was the southeast of Turkey - the focus lay at a depth of 10 km, and the epicenter was located 59 kilometers from the city of Kahramanmaras.
The earthquake has become the most powerful in Turkey since 1939: the highest level of danger has been introduced in several regions of the country, and Ankara has already requested the international community's help.
How did the tragedy affect the football world?
Near the epicenter of the disaster, there are several large cities with Turkish Super League clubs: Gaziantep (Gaziantep), Antakya (Hatayspor), Adana (Adana Demirspor), as well as settlements with teams from the lower divisions - Malatya (Yeni Malatyaspor") and Iskenderun ("Iskenderunspor"). Due to the critical situation, Turkish Minister of Youth Policy and Sports Mehmet Kasapoglu announced the cancellation of all sporting events in the country due to the earthquake.
Turkish Sports Minister of Youth Policy and Sports Mehmet Kaspoglu: "All national sports events held in our country are suspended until further notice. All of our relevant units are on alert under the coordination of the Office of Emergency Management."
The Turkish Football Federation also announced the postponement of all upcoming matches in all country divisions. Three games were to be held today in the Super League: Umraniyespor - Adana Demirspor, Fenerbahce - Konyaspor, and Girensunspor - Kayserispor. But the new date, of course, is still unknown.
And the Turkish media report terrible news related to football players. Ghana and Hatayspor defender Christian Atsu, who previously played for Chelsea and the club's sports director Taner Savut, were under the rubble in Hatay. Surprisingly, only last night, Atsu scored the winning goal against Kasimpasa in the 97th minute. Rescue teams are currently working to find them.
Several other team players have already been pulled out from under the rubble: Burak Oksuz, Bertug Yildirim, Kerim Alichy, Ekrem Eksioglu, and Osman Ates. Also missing were up to 40 wrestlers from local clubs and 14 volleyball players from the local team.
The Turkish "Yeni Malatyaspor" goalkeeper Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan was also under the rubble. The media reported on a football player's death, but the club president, Haci Ahmet Yaman, denied the information: "The news of the death of Ahmet Eyüp Turkaslan is not true. During the rescue work, another earthquake occurred. So the teams retreated. I hope we get good news."
The reaction of the world
The clubs most affected by the earthquakes posted messages on social media with "hope for the best": "We hope that there will be no casualties as a result of the earthquake that was felt in neighboring provinces and our city of Gaziantep, and we convey our best wishes to all citizens, "Gaziantep said in a statement. A similar report was published on its Adana page, where Artyom Dziuba played not so long ago.
The three leading Turkish clubs - Besiktas, Fenerbahce, and Galatasaray - also did not stand aside from the tragedy. The teams released messages announcing the start of a campaign to help citizens affected by earthquakes. UEFA also provided support, as well as Zenit, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Lille, Panathinaikos, Neftchi, Qarabag, and others.
Well, the most heartbreaking video was published by the former goalkeeper of the Turkish national team and Fenerbahce, Volkan Demirel, now the sports director of Hatayspor. Through tears, he asked everyone for help: "Everyone here is unhappy. Everyone in Hatay dies. Please, ambulance, help, everything is very bad here. Help, we can't contact people. We cannot do much on our own. Please send us all possible help. This situation is not only in Khatai but also in neighboring provinces. Please help for the sake of Allah."
One of the leading Turkish football players of recent decades, Arda Turan, also turned to the world community through social networks. "Turkey has declared a level 4 high alert. Level 4 alert includes an international call for help. For those of you who are reading this message around the world… Our people trapped under the earthquake's rubble in Turkey need your help to escape."
"FootyRoom" mourns the dead and their families and wishes a speedy recovery for all the injured.