by Meg Nesterov (RSS feed)
Dec 16 2010

In order to promote the upcoming new Los Angeles-Istanbul flights,
the new Turkish Airlines spokesman Kobe Bryant has prompted some
protest in the Armenian American community. Turkey (as well as the
United States) does not recognize the death of 1.5 million Armernians
at the end of Turkey's Ottoman Empire as genocide. 700,000 Armenian
Americans in California are hoping Bryant will use his stature to
raise awareness and put pressure on the United States to recognize the
deaths, threatening to boycott the basketball star and the L.A. Lakers
if he doesn't back out of the deal.

Should he continue with the deal, Bryant will make his own inaugural
trip in 2011. "I've never been to Turkey," Bryant told CNBC. "But all
the guys on the team in the league who have been keep saying it's one
of the hottest places to go to." The LAX-IST flights will begin in
March, four times a week. Turkish Airlines also has direct flights
from New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Turkish Airlines' current brand embassador is actor Kevin Costner,
though no protests are known against his films or for the work
of Benicio del Toro, whose image can be seen all over Turkey in
advertisements for Magnum ice cream.

From: A. Papazian