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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Turkish Airlines: We're not a sponsor!

You may recall that last week I reported that Turkish Airlines was sponsoring an anti-Israel parlay in Chicago over Thanksgiving weekend. On Thursday evening, I received a letter from the Turkish Airlines representative in Chicago, which I am posting below (I would upload it to ScribD, but they went to the trouble of finding my last name, which I'd rather not post on this blog), so I will cut and paste instead.
Dear Carl,

I am writing in reference to inaccurate claims about Turkish Airlines within an article you wrote titled, “Turkish Airlines Sponsoring Anti-Israel Parlay.” Your claims about Turkish Airlines being a major corporate sponsor of the "Conference for Palestine in the U.S.: A Movement United" taking place in suburban Chicago from November 22-25, 2012 are not true. Presently we have no affiliation with the event. We are not a sponsor in any way shape or form, nor are we donating tickets to the event as was wrongfully stated in your article.

As a global airline, we bring citizens of the world together from all religions, ethnicities and countries without any discrimination. We are involved with many organizations that represent the different, diverse profile of our clients.

In 2011, Turkish Airlines donated two economy class tickets to the "Conference for Palestine in the U.S.: A New Era of Activism," however, this does not represent any kind of political affiliation nor an alliance to a certain political cause but is rather a way of connecting with a certain customer segment that frequently uses our airline. Given the highly political nature of the event, this year, we revised our policy and decided not to be involved at all with the upcoming event. This does not mean that we will cease to support our customers in the Muslim community as they make up an important part of our client mosaic, the same way our Jewish customers do. Turkish Airlines highly values its Jewish clients and customers, the same way we value all of our diverse customers who are loyal to our airline. Israel is one of Turkish Airlines’ most important destinations, second only to Istanbul. We are an ongoing supporter of the Jewish-American community, and Turkish Airlines often works to promote tourism to Israel through various events and advertising campaigns. We work closely with Omer Eshel, Consul, Director of the Midwest Region of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, on joint seminars, to donate tickets to Israeli events, and look forward to our collaboration on seminars and events in the coming year.

Turkish Airlines is proud to be one of the world’s largest airlines connecting 90 countries, more than any in the world. We take pride in providing worldwide service to more than 200 destinations to citizens from all backgrounds and religions, without any discrimination, and value our relationship with all of our clients from cultures around the world. Without our loyal passengers, Turkish Airlines would not have been named “Europe’s Best Airline” two years in a row.

We would appreciate an immediate extraction of your inaccurate claims to ensure that your readers are aware of the truth and our neutral position as it pertains to any conflict pertaining in the region.

With Warm Regards,

Levent Selvili Turkish Airlines General Manager, Chicago
Hmmm. Okay - I was surprised to read that Tel Aviv is their second largest destination after Istanbul. But it's been eight years since I last flew Turkish Airways (yes, they were part of OneWorld back then). 

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