December 12, 2016 / 2:28 PM / a year ago

European soccer closes ranks with Turkey after deadly Istanbul attacks

ANKARA, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Soccer clubs across Europe showed solidarity with Turkey following a twin bombing outside the stadium of Istanbul team Besiktas on Saturday which killed at least 44 people.

The attacks outside the Vodafone Arena happened around two hours after the end of a match between Besiktas and Bursaspor. The first, a car bomb outside the stadium, was followed by a suicide bomb attack in an adjacent park less than a minute later.

An offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack which killed at least 36 police officers and wounded 155 people.

On Sunday, the symbolic arch of Wembley Stadium in London was lit up in red in memory of the victims of the bombings.

“Wembley’s arch is red tonight as a mark of respect and sympathy following the attacks outside Besiktas’ stadium in Turkey yesterday,” the English FA said on Twitter.

West Ham United coach Slaven Bilic, who managed Besiktas from 2013-15, dedicated his team’s point from the 2-2 Premier League draw at Liverpool on Sunday to Turkey.

“I would like to dedicate this point to the people of Turkey. Me and my staff were there for two years. They followed us big time and my prayers are with them. It is unbelievable what happened there,” Bilic said.

“It is tearing me apart. Big condolences to the families of the victims.”

Besiktas, one of Turkey’s top teams, said they would cancel season tickets for a domestic cup game against Kayserispor on Wednesday. Instead, all proceeds from the approximately 40,000 tickets to be sold will go to the families of those killed in the attack.

Galatasaray winger Yasin Oztekin hugged policemen after scoring against Gaziantepspor to honour those killed in the bombings, a moment that went viral on Turkish social media. (Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu, editing by Ed Osmond)

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