Turkish goalkeeper Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan has died aged 28 in the devastating earthquake in his home country, his club Yeni Matalyaspor confirmed. The Turkish second-division side said that Turkaslan's body was found buried under the rubble on Tuesday following the 7.8 magnitude quake which hit near the city of Gaziantep and also impacted neighboring Syria.
More than 7,800 people have lost their lives in Turkey and Syria following the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake on early Monday morning. Turkaslan was reported missing on Monday. Rescue workers were searching for him and found his body on Tuesday trapped under the rubble. Turkaslan's club has paid tribute to their goalkeeper.
Death of a Star
Turkaslan's tragic death comes as a major setback for his club. "Our goalkeeper, Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, lost his life after being under the collapse of the earthquake. Rest in peace," the club said on Twitter.
"We will not forget you, beautiful person," it added.
Ex-team-mate Moussa Sow led the tributes. He wrote: "You were a good guy super nice respectful happy to have been able to know you."
Yannick Bolasie, a former winger for Crystal Palace and Everton who currently represents Caykur Rizespor in the Turkish second division, also expressed his sympathy. "RIP brother Eyup Ahmet Turkaslan. One moment you can see someone in the dugout the next moment they're gone. My condolences to all his family and teammates at Yeni Malatyaspor. Devastating to hear and wish we can all continue to help everyone in need," he wrote.
According to local sources, Turkaslan's wife was successfully saved on Monday as doctors reportedly battled to save his life. Tragically, their efforts were in vain.
Turkaslan, 28, played six times for Yeni Malatyaspor of the Turkish second division after joining in 2021.
He began his senior career with Bugsasspor in 2013, going on to play for fellow Turkish sides Osmanlispor and Umraniyespor before joining Malatyaspor in 2021.
Death Toll Continues to Rise
At least 7,800 people have died and thousands more have been injured as a result of the devastating earthquake, which has now had an impact on one of Turkey's best football teams.
Tremors were also felt as far away as Egypt, Lebanon, and the island of Cyprus,
Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, the goalkeeper for Yeni Matalysaspor, was revealed to be one of those caught in the earthquake that struck Kahramanmaras on Sunday night.
The club posted on their Instagram story on Monday, saying: " TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE COMMON! Our goalkeeper, Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, is in the building that was damaged and destroyed in the earthquake.
"Search and rescue efforts continue. As of now, there has been no news from him yet. Do not miss your prayers."
According to De Marke Sports, the club's head coach YÄ±lmaz Vural said: "After the Rizespor match, I gave the team 2 days off. Most of the players were not in Malatya. Our only second goalkeeper, Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, was there. They saved his wife... I am devastated."
Amid the tragic news, it was also reported that Christian Atsu, a former star for Chelsea and Newcastle, was injured by the earthquake, according to sources. Atsu was recovered after being buried under the debris, although his new club Hatayspor has verified that he did sustain serious injuries.
Sport in Turkey has been significantly impacted by the earthquake, which caused Volkan Demirel, a former Turkey international and manager of Hatayspor, to sob on social media and beg the world to aid his native country.
On Monday morning, Demirel, who earned 63 senior caps for Turkey during his international career, posted a live video to Instagram asking for help.
"Help! I want you to send all the resources you have to the environmentalist. It is not just Hatay and Antakya," Demirel pleaded.
"Please, I'm asking you. Please, please, for the love of God, people are dying here. For the love of God..."
Hundreds of people rushed from their homes to seek refuge in their automobiles as structures started to collapse as at least 40 aftershocks shook Turkey and Syria on Monday.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located north of Gaziantep, Turkey, which has a population of roughly two million and is located about 60 miles from the Syrian border. Many Syrian refugees have settled in the area.
The US Geological Survey reported that the first earthquake hit at a depth of around 11 miles at 04:17 local time. About 10 minutes later, a strong aftershock measuring 6.7 rumbled. According to Turkey's own agency, 40 aftershocks were felt.