Turkey plans to build a statue of a heroic rescue dog that died while looking for survivors following the earthquake in the country.
The brave dog, called Proteo, from Mexico, died while searching the rubble for survivors after travelling to Turkey and taking part in rescue efforts.
More details revealed that he was seriously injured while searching in the rubble in Adiyaman, assisting Mexican military teams. Before he died he successfully rescued two people.
Sukru Genc, the mayor of Sariyer Municipality in Istanbul, said: “Proteo came from Mexico, miles away, and came to save our citizens under the rubble … in a country he had never known, and he succeeded.”
“Proteo is now one of the names we owe our loyalty to. We want to include his statue in our park.”
The mayor was speaking at a memorial event held for Proteo and Japanese aid volunteer Miyazaki Atsushi, who died in the 2011 earthquake in eastern Turkey.
Miyazaki came to the rescue of earthquake victims in Van when it was struck by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on 23rd October, 2011, and extended his helping hand to people both as a doctor and an aid worker as part of the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan).
But a magnitude 5.6 quake jolted the city again on 9th November 2011 and this second quake caused his hotel to collapse to rubble, and Miyazaki was badly injured.
He was taken out of the pile of debris following intense rescue operations but succumbed to his wounds at a hospital.
The park where he was giving a speech was also named after Miyazaki and has a statue of him.
One of the Mexican soldiers taking part in the rescue operations in Turkey reportedly said of Proteo: “I want to tell you that I am proud of you, because you have always been a strong dog, a dog worker who never gave up.”
Recently, an animal rehabilitation centre built in the Basiskele district of the northwestern Turkish province of Kocaeli has also been named after the late Mexican rescue dog.
Basiskele municipality added a sign with a photo of Proteo, saying: “Proteo participated in search and rescue efforts in Turkey, where he came after the earthquake disaster on February 6th .
“A member of a military police brigade in Mexico City, Proteo was born on 13th June, 2013 and was almost 9 years and 8 months old when he died on 12th February, 2023.
“The death of Proteo was met with great sadness in both Mexico and Turkey.
“As Basiskele Municipality, our street animal care home was named after Proteo, in honour of all the search and rescue dogs that saved hundreds of people, found thousands of explosives and served humanity in many fields.”
According to the latest official figures, at least 43,556 people have died in the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes on 6th February that were centred in Turkiye’s southern Kahramanmaras province and struck 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Adiyaman, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Elazig.