Otabek Shukurov, who participated in the rescue efforts in Hatay, talked about his experiences

Otabek Shukurov, the Uzbek football player of VavaCars Fatih Karagümrük, who went to Hatay after the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş, which was described as the “disaster of the century”, and participated in the rescue efforts, said that as a Muslim, he could not remain indifferent to the situation and went to the earthquake zone without thinking. Shukurov, who went to Hatay by car from Istanbul during the 3-day leave given to the team and participated in the rescue efforts on the 7th day, told about the emotional moments he experienced.

Shukurov, who did not tell anyone that he went to Hatay and worked in the wreckage wearing the vests of the rescue teams from Uzbekistan, shared this with the club officials after he returned to Istanbul. Fatih Karagümrük’s communication team thanked him by publishing a video of the Uzbek player’s rescue efforts in the wreckage area. This video also gained great popularity on social media.

Shukurov, who started his speech by expressing his condolences to the people of Turkey, stated that he was very sorry. Stating that he watched the images on the internet after the earthquakes and everyone sent help to the region, the Uzbek football player said, “As a Muslim, I could not sit and wait in such a situation. I could not look at this situation normally. It was not an ordinary situation and I had to do it for Allah. I saw it as a duty I had to do. In such a situation, I could not look from the outside,” he said.


Stating that he went to Hatay on the leave given to the team, Shukurov said:

We set off from Istanbul in the evening with my friend and I contacted the Uzbekistan Consulate to learn about the situation there. I knew that the Embassy of Uzbekistan helped and set up tents there. I was in constant contact with them. I didn’t inform the club because I didn’t know if what I was doing was right. I thought maybe they wouldn’t let me. I didn’t show many people that I went there and I didn’t want to publish it. When I went, I wore the clothes of the rescuers there and wore a mask. I also had the title. I dressed like this so they wouldn’t recognize me.


Reminding that President of Uzbekistan Shevket Mirziyoyev sent a rescue team of 100 people and a military team of 100 people, including doctors, on the first day of the earthquake, Shukurov said, “I went and talked to them and saw the situation with my own eyes. Our President had sent the 5th plane the day I went. Food supplies, patients. “The materials and clothes for the building arrived on the day I went. We set out from Istanbul at night and arrived in Hatay in the morning. I met with the embassy officers, soldiers and rescue teams there and got information. My Uzbek friends were also cooking and delivering food. I talked to them and learned the situation,” he said. .

Otabek Shukurov, who also conveyed his feelings when he went to the region, said, “I was shocked the moment I went to the region. Think about it, life continues 100 kilometers behind, it was like life stopped when you went 100 kilometers. It was a very bad situation and I couldn’t come to my senses when I saw it. I was shocked the first hour I went to Hatay. “I went with a friend of mine. First thing in the morning, I cooked rice for the earthquake victims, and then I went to the rescue teams. I walked around the street to save a life.”


At the beginning of almost every debris in the earthquake area, “My brother lies here, I have my daughter here.” Saying that there are citizens who say, Otabek Shukurov said:

I cannot explain this easily. When I saw these, I helped rescue them from the wreckage. On the first day, we started the rescue work in the morning prayer, and we were not able to save anyone alive until 16.00. Afterwards, the mother and her child remained in a wreck. They also described the location. Our rescue team was working to save him. So I went to help and worked to save a life. Nobody said to me, ‘Who are you, get out of here’ because I was wearing the clothes of the rescuers. They thought I was from the rescue team. I continued to help. I really wanted to get someone out of there alive. It was literally apocalyptic. Then a voice comes, they say ‘there is live’ and even 1 minute becomes important.”


Stating that they are working hard to get someone alive from the wreckage during the rescue efforts, Shukurov continued as follows:

Toward that evening, we retrieved the lifeless bodies of the mother and child from the wreckage we were working on. I could not talk. I can say I lost my tongue. We worked until the evening, but it was very difficult for their dead bodies to come out. Then, on the way back to the food court, we heard that there were two children aged 8 and 15 in a wreck. A person was carrying the 8-year-old child in his arms, saying ‘Allah-u Akbar’. I was in a state of shock. Then they said that his brother was also there, and I ran after him. I saw the benefit of doing sports there and we saved the 15-year-old boy. He had a stone at his feet and we lifted the stone. His eyes were slightly open. After removing the stones, we took the child out. Then I said to myself, ‘God did not call me here for nothing. I helped at least 1 child.’ I said. It just happened on the way back to camp. I didn’t know the rescue teams there. They were trying to save the boy. They carved it with their hands. They gave me an iron there. I broke the wall with the iron and the boy had a stone on his foot. I lifted the stone and we took the boy out. We took it and gave it to the doctors. His parents were crying, we cried more than they did.


Emphasizing that it is not possible to fully describe his feelings there, the Uzbek football player said, “First, we reached the lifeless body of the mother and child. Then we rescued a living person. I have never experienced such a situation until this age. I was in shock, I cannot explain this situation. We just cried. There is nothing you can do there. “Because we saw the deceased everywhere on the road. After giving the child we rescued to the doctors, I helped another place, but we couldn’t find him alive there. One of them is rescued alive and the body of the other is taken out in a minute. It is impossible to express this in words,” he said.

Otabek Shukurov, who stated that he also met with earthquake victims in Hatay, said: “Tents were set up for earthquake victims. He said. They had lost everything, they had lost their relatives. Money didn’t matter to them, they were in shock. We still see that the earthquakes continue. All we can do is pray for them. Get well soon to Turkey. Uzbekistan and Turkey are always friends. Our President is also He is doing great things in this regard. Your problem is our problem, your happiness is our happiness,” he said.

“Maybe I’m Testing With This Rizk”

Otabek Shukurov, who was also awarded the Order of Distinguished Service for his assistance in Uzbekistan, concluded his words as follows:

I was born in Chirakci district of Kashkadarya city of Uzbekistan and grew up in a village life. The pandemic has been very difficult all over the world. People couldn’t get out and work. There are many people I know who work daily and make a living just by eating what they earn. Since I am a football player, God has given my sustenance wide. Maybe I am being tested with this sustenance. In such cases, I can’t just stare from the outside. I must do my best to help. I provided food and medicine aid in difficult days. I grew up in the village and there were people who didn’t have a job there. I built a kindergarten there, established a business center with 15 stores. I opened places like restaurants and gyms to give jobs to people. Our President, who saw my work, gave me the Order of Distinguished Service. I visit this place every time I go. Whatever I did there, I travel and see them one by one. Every week I get reports from the people who work there.