Besiktas fans play toys on the pitch for children affected by the earthquake in Turkey

Besiktas fans threw thousands of soft toys onto the pitch during the match against Antalyaspor to donate to children affected by the earthquakes.

The match was stopped after four minutes and 17 seconds, representing the moment when the first earthquake hit Turkey and Syria at 04:17 on 6 February.

Fans then began throwing the toys, which will be given to children in Turkey and Syria, from the stands.

It was accompanied by anti-government chants from the home fans.

More than 50,000 people died after earthquakes.

“Our fans organized a meaningful event called ‘This toy is my friend’ during the match to give morale to children affected by the earthquake,” said Besiktas.

“Supporters threw scarves, berets and stuffed animals as presents to children in the earthquake region.”

Besiktas players warmed up to the names of the affected cities in the south of the country before a pre-match ceremony was held and fans applauded search and rescue officers present at Vodafone Stadium.

Defender Tayyib Sanuc said: “There are more important things than football. We are going through difficult times as a country. Together we will heal the wounds.

“Our fans staged a significant event – I was very moved. I hope we never have to experience a disaster like this again.”

Gaziantep and Hatayspor withdrew from the Turkish Super League season following the earthquake, with Hatayspor’s Christian Atsu among the victims.

Besiktas and Fenerbahce fans continue with protests

Earthquakes that hit southern Turkey and northern Syria left many people homeless.

Public opposition to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has increased since the earthquakes hit and left an estimated 1.5 million people without basic needs.

Erdogan is set to face the toughest election of his 20 years in power on May 14 and Besiktas fans have continued their calls for the government to step down over its response to the disaster on Sunday.

They weren’t the only ones to voice their opinion, with fans of Istanbul club Fenerbahçe – whom Erdogan supports – making their feelings clear amid chants of “twenty years of lies and cheating, resign” during the Konyaspor match, pro-government club on Saturday.

Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – the de facto coalition partner of Erdogan’s AK party – condemned the chants as “dirty politics” and called for the two clubs to be forced to play behind closed doors to avoid further protests. .

Other clubs take issue with the anti-government protests.

Caykur Rizespor, based in Erdogan’s hometown of Rize, said they were “provocative acts” and called the protesters “rats”.

‘It wasn’t just donating toys with joy’ – analysis

Besiktas fans throw teddy bears onto the pitch in support of earthquake victims
Besiktas fans chanted “government resignation” during Sunday’s match

By Selin Girit, BBC News

After the toys were thrown onto the field, Besiktas fans started to chant against the government.

It wasn’t just a cheerful toy donation, it was also a protest.

After the chants of ‘resignation of the government’, the leader of the government’s de facto coalition partner Devlet Bahceli called the chants irresponsible and idiotic in resigning from Besiktas.

He also called for arrangements to be made for matches to be played in empty stadiums. After Bahceli, five MHP politicians also resigned.

Anti-government sentiment rose, especially after the earthquake’s handling was deemed inadequate, and the country’s humanitarian organization, the Turkish Red Crescent, faced intense criticism for selling more than 2,000 tents to a voluntary organization just days after the earthquake.

As the government does not allow freedom of assembly and expression, football matches are seen as an opportunity by crowds who would like to protest by the hundreds.

Besiktas fans throw teddy bears onto the pitch in support of earthquake victimsPlayers clean the pitch after Besiktas throws teddy bears onto the pitch in support of children affected by the earthquakePlayers clean up the pitch after Besiktas throws teddy bears onto the pitch in support of children affected by the earthquake

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