Soccer game stopped as fans shower field with stuffed toys for earthquake victims

Fans throw toys onto the pitch during the soccer match between Besiktas and Antalyaspor at the Vodafone stadium in Istanbul
Fans throw toys onto the field during the Turkish Super League match between Besiktas and Antalyaspor on Feb. 26 at Vodafone Park in Istanbul.
(Associated Press)

A Turkish Super League soccer game Sunday in Istanbul was stopped as fans showered the field with stuffed toys that were meant as donations for children impacted by the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria this month.

The event was timed to stop the clock during the match between host Besiktas and Antalyaspor at exactly the 4 minute, 17 second mark to reflect the time (4:17 a.m.) that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred Feb. 6 in southern Turkey and northern Syria.

More than 48,000 died in the earthquake, and 185,000 buildings in Turkey either collapsed or were seriously damaged. More than 10,000 aftershocks have hit the region, including a magnitude 5.6 earthquake Monday in southern Turkey that killed at least one person.


Officials say a magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook southern Turkey, killing at least one person and causing some previously damaged buildings to collapse.

Feb. 27, 2023

According to the Besiktas website, the toy-tossing event was called “Bu oyuncak sana arkadasım” — “This toy is for you, my friend” — and was organized by fans “to give morale to the children in the earthquake zone.”

“We would like to thank our fans for their meaningful event,” the club stated.

Players resume the game after a delay while fans threw toys onto the field in support of earthquake victims.
(Associated Press)

The Turkish store Toyzz Shop sold plush toys at the stadium for the event. The store stated on Instagram that all proceeds would be used to help support earthquake victims.

Winter clothing, such as hats and scarves, were also tossed onto the field. Players and stadium workers collected the toys and applauded the crowd.

The game eventually resumed and ended in a scoreless tie.