Thursday, September 21, 2023
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The claim that Ronaldo sends a plane full of care items to Syria and Turkey is false

Recently, an information entitled Portugal captain and Al Nassr club striker of Saudi Arabia, Cristiano Ronaldo has sent an airplane full of care items to the people affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey has been published in various media and the Internet.

See some related articles published in the international media ESPN (USA), Goal (UK), Khaleej Times (UAE), Geo Tv (Pakistan), Prothom Alo (Bangladesh), Indian Express (India), ESPN (BRAZIL), Malta Daily (Malta)

Ronaldo
Screenshot source: Facebook

Check out some Facebook posts with the same claim here (archive), here (archive) and here (archive).

Screenshot source: Facebook

Check out some youtube videos on the same claim here (archive), here (archive) and here (archive).

Screenshot source: YouTube

Basically, on February 6, a devastating earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, killing many people. Almost a month after the earthquake, a claim that Cristiano Ronaldo has sent a plane full of care items to the people affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey is being widely circulated in the media and on the Internet.

Fact Check

Investigations by the Rumor Scanner team found no evidence of Cristiano Ronaldo sending planeloads of care items to people affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. In addition, according to multiple reliable sources in Turkey and Syria and the information obtained from the relief track of Turkey’s official news agency Anadolu Agency, there is no evidence that Ronaldo sent an airplane filled with relief to Turkey or Syria. 

Looking for the original source of the news

Extensive investigation shows that the first report of the claim was published on the website of UK-based tabloid magazine ‘Daily Mail‘ on 05 March (08:37 GMT) under the headline “Cristiano Ronaldo sends a plane full of care items to earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey with former Manchester United star deeply affected by tragic scenes that has left over 50,000 dead“. The report first claimed that Ronaldo had sent a plane full of relief supplies to victims of the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey.

Screenshot source: Daily Mail

The Daily Mail also wrote in their report that the Portuguese star is spending the money to help with humanitarian efforts related to tents, food packages, pillows, blankets, beds, baby food, milk and medical supplies. 

Moreover, they claimed in the report that these aid goods were sent by air to both Turkey and Syria. 

However, there is no mention of the date on which Ronaldo is sending or has sent this relief. Moreover, they did not mention whether Ronaldo sent the relief from his current location, Saudi Arabia, or whether he sent a relief plane from his country, Portugal. 

Without mentioning any clear source of information about the relief, the Daily Mail in their report mentioned Ronaldo’s meeting with a Syrian child on March 4.

Daily Mail article’s Screenshot collage: Rumor Scanner

In other words, “Cristiano Ronaldo has sent an airplane full of relief to the victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake” but the Daily Mail report does not mention any detailed information or the source of the information.

The Spanish media ‘Marca’ published a report titled “Ronaldo’s $350k donation to earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey” at 3:55 GMT (9:55 CST) on the same day (March 05) and mentioned Ronaldo’s planeload of care items.

Screenshot source: Marca

But at the same time, the media has given new information. Wrote, “The aid donation sent by the Portugal star is worth $350,000.”

Screenshot source: Marca

Another point to be noted here is that the Marca report did not mention any source for this claim.

Similarly, a report by British media outlet Sky Sports also cited no source for the claim.

Screenshot source: Sky Sports

Is there a link to this incident with the Syrian child?

Observations of the Rheumer scanner showed, Ronaldo’s meeting with a Syrian child has been repeatedly mentioned in the reports of Ronaldo’s sending of aid items to Turkey and Syria in multiple media such as Daily Mail, Sky Sports. Basically, the news of Ronaldo’s sending of help appears to have spread on the internet soon after the incident of Ronaldo’s meeting with the child. In view of this, Rumor Scanner has tried to know the details of the incident.

According to a keyword search, a report published by the international news agency ‘Reuters’ last March 06 revealed that a boy named Nabil Saeed in Syria told rescue workers after the devastating earthquake in February that he wanted to meet Cristiano Ronaldo. His hope was fulfilled on March 3. Nabil also got a chance to meet Ronaldo after being invited to watch Al Nassr Club play in Saudi Arabia. 

Reuters added a video to the report, which shows Nabil meeting Ronaldo and hugging him.

In the video, Ronaldo is seen exchanging pleasantries with Nabil, but Ronaldo is not heard making any comments about sending aid to Turkey and Syria. “When I saw Ronaldo, I thought maybe it was a dream. I couldn’t believe myself. I don’t know when this dream will end. I hope it’s not a dream, it was real,” Nabil told Reuters later during the match.

Screenshot source: Reuters

Moreover, Nabil was seen making the same comment in the related video published on the Twitter account of Qatar-based media ‘Al Jazeera’. Al Jazeera’s tweet also found no information about Ronaldo sending aid to Turkey and Syria.

According to the investigation, Turki Alalshikh, head of Saudi Arabia’s entertainment department, arranged for Nabil to meet Ronaldo. He was the first to share the video of the moment Nabil met Ronaldo on his Twitter account. The video also did not mention any information about Ronaldo sending aid to Turkey and Syria.

Screenshot source: Twitter

That is, even when he met the Syrian child, Ronaldo did not make any comments about sending aid to Turkey and Syria.

Rumor scanner in search of relief aircraft

The Daily Mail published the report on Ronaldo’s sending aid to Turkey and Syria on March 5 (08:37 GMT), and the first report on this matter is also from the Daily Mail. 

And so, based on that information and timing, the Rumor Scanner team looked into the relief flights that have reached Turkey-Syria recently.

If Cristiano Ronaldo sent a plane full of relief and if it was from his home country of Portugal or from his current location in Saudi Arabia, we first found out how long it would take for that plane to arrive. 
Looking at these two facts, it can be seen that a flight departing from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, takes a little more than four and a half hours (1, 2) to reach Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. 

Screenshot source: Trip

Similarly, a flight departing from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, takes about four and a half hours to reach Istanbul, the capital of Turkey (1, 2).

That is, if calculated from the time of publication of the Daily Mail report (March 05 at 08:37 GMT), then the plane is supposed to reach Turkey on the same day (March 05) regardless of where the plane departs from, Portugal or Saudi Arabia. And if the plane had been sent the day before the publication of the report, it would have normally arrived the day before (March 4).

Did Turkey-Syria receive the relief plane sent by Ronaldo?

According to the information given by Turkish state news agency ‘Anadolu Agency‘ on March 07, a total of 14 relief planes from Saudi Arabia landed in Turkey on March 06 at 14:00 GMT.

Screenshot source: Anadolu Agency

Through further investigation, the Rumor Scanner team found a report published by Anadolu Agency on February 25, which stated that 14 relief planes had arrived in Turkey from Saudi Arabia. In other words, no relief aircraft went there from Saudi Arabia after February 25.

Screenshot source: Anadolu Agency

Moreover, there is no information about any relief flights going to Turkey from Portugal during that period (February 6 to March 06 noon) on the website of the Portuguese government. According to the country’s official website, the rescue team that went to Turkey from Portugal on February 8 returned to the country on February 18.

That is, analyzing the data of the relief plane, it appears that no plane filled with relief sent by Cristiano Ronaldo has reached Turkey.

What are the Turkish and Syrian media saying?

If Ronaldo sends an aid plane to Turkey, it will naturally be reported in the Turkish media, and after the aid plane arrives in Turkey, it is normal to have updated news about it.

For this reason, the Rumor Scanner team has analyzed the news of the past few days from several media outlets in Turkey.

Initially, the Rumor Scanner team searched Anadolu Agency’s website manually and using different keywords, but no news about Ronaldo’s relief plane being sent was published by the media until this report was published. Moreover, Anadolu released the latest news about Ronaldo on February 26.

Screenshot source: Anadolu Agency

However, Anadolu regularly publishes reports on foreign aid. From last March 04 to March 08, the news of providing aid from several countries and organizations including Turkmenistan, Qatar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Japan, Jordan, Belgium, Greece, Taiwan, Somalia came on the website of the media.

Even the day after this viral claim about Ronaldo, i.e. on March 6, the news of a Jordanian relief plane arriving in Turkey has been published on Anadolu’s website.

That is, on Anadolu’s website, the last update on relief flights before the said claim was given on February 25 (reports of 14 Saudi planes going) and after Ronaldo’s relief claim went viral, the media also reported on March 06 that a Jordanian plane had gone. However, there is no information on the Anadolu website of any relief flights until now.

Screenshot collage: Rumor Scanner

By keyword searching the Anadolu Agency website about Ronaldo, we also tried to see if there was any other news about Ronaldo’s support for the earthquake in Turkey.

Later, a report published in the media on February 07 found that Turkish professional footballer Merih Demiral has auctioned the jerseys of Ronaldo, Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala to help earthquake victims.

Also, another report dated February 09 revealed that $2,65,500 was raised through the auction of jerseys signed by the 3 players, which were donated to a local NGO. However, apart from the above two news, no other news related to Ronaldo’s relief could be found there.

Screenshot source: Anadolu Agency

However, through a detailed search, the Rumor Scanner team found a report on the website of another Turkish media, ‘A Haber’, published on March 5 (the same day as the Daily Mail) about Ronaldo’s planeload of relief. However, although it is a matter of sending relief to Turkey, this Turkish media called ‘A Haber’ published the news citing the Daily Mail as a source.

Screenshot source: A Haber

Moreover, the news titled ‘Ronaldo is sending relief’ was published in this media named ‘A Haber’ on March 5, but the latest information about whether the plane arrived later or not was not found on the website of the media.

Similar to A Haber and on the same date, another Turkish media outlet ‘ntv’ published the same report on its website citing the Daily Mail as a source. It should be noted that their website also did not get any update on the arrival of the plane filled with relief. 

That is, the two media outlets in Turkey published the ‘Daily Mail’ as a source in the news about Ronaldo’s relief, while the Daily Mail news did not mention any source.

What are Turkey and Syria’s fact-checking organizations saying?

The Rumor Scanner team later contacted several fact-checkers in Turkey and Syria to confirm the matter. Regarding the matter, they said that they had not come across any news published by any source other than the Daily Mail about Ronaldo sending aid to Turkey and Syria.

What is the activity of journalists concerned with Ronaldo?

The investigation shows that English broadcaster and journalist Piers Morgan regularly tweets about Ronaldo’s various issues.

After the Daily Mail published a report on Ronaldo on March 5, Morgan tweeted several (1,2,3,4) about Ronaldo. But no tweets about sending relief planes to Turkey and Syria could be found.

Screenshot source: Twitter

Moreover, Morgan also writes columns for the Daily Mail and on March 3, he shared a link to a Daily Mail report on Twitter. Therefore, the news published in the Daily Mail or other media about Ronaldo’s relief should not escape his attention. But he did not tweet about it.

Screenshot source: Twitter 

What is the secret of the picture of the plane with relief goods with the Turkish flag that went viral on Facebook? 

Along with the news about Ronaldo sending aid to Turkey and Syria, a number of Facebook posts (archive) circulated a picture of an aid plane and some pictures of relief goods with the Turkish flag.

Screenshot source: Facebook

But reverse image search shows that the viral images are from the year 2020 (first image, second image, third image). The pictures are, in fact, of personal protective equipment sent by Turkey to the United States and the United Kingdom to combat the coronavirus.

Screenshot collage: Rumor Scanner 

That is, claims of Ronaldo sending a plane full of care items to Turkey and Syria along with pictures of older and different events are being circulated on the Internet.

Bottom Line

On March 5, a report by the UK-based tabloid magazine ‘Daily Mail’ first claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo had sent a plane full of relief supplies to the victims of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey. Later on this report was published in various domestic and international media. But Rumor Scanner’s long investigation shows that Cristiano Ronaldo did not send an airplane filled with relief to Turkey-Syria, and after analyzing information from multiple media and related sources, including the official news agencies of the countries, it can be seen that Turkey and Syria have not received such relief recently. That is, this claim has spread on the internet without any basis.

By the way, last month, when a rumor spread on the Internet that the organization of Argentinian football star Lionel Messi “Leo Messi Foundation” announced to donate 3.5 million euros to the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, Rumor Scanner published a factcheck report that also falsely stated this matter. 

So, the news of Ronaldo sending an airplane full of relief to the people affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey is baseless and rumors.

Sources

RS Team
RS Team
Rumor Scanner Fact-Check Team
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