Turkey and the USA are in the midst of a severe diplomatic spat and Turkish Airlines finds itself as a pawn of the Turkish state. As the carrier cuts ads in the USA, are flights next on the chopping block?
Turkish Airlines announced it would cut all advertising in the United States. Defending the move on Twitter, Yahya Ustun, the Senior Vice President for Media Relations, wrote:
We as Turkish Airlines are taking our place alongside our state and people.
This moves comes on the heels of escalating tensions between the two nations. With Turkish President Erodgan’s autocratic regime fighting hyperinflation and an increasingly skeptical public, I doubt the state-owned flag carrier of Turkey had much choice in whether to comply. This move is reminiscent of the alleged 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan, in which Turkish rebranded its business class lounge in Istanbul to the July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge. Pure Orwellianism.
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Turkish Airlines needs Americans on its flights. And frankly Americans need Turkish Airlines. Abandoning the lucrative U.S. market will represent a tragic loss not only for the airline, but for U.S. consumers. Turkish serves 120 nations, more countries than any other carrier. But with tensions escalating, it is not unreasonable to wonder whether Turkish might be instructed to cut flights next. That’s unnecessary collateral damage in this battle for checkmate.
Plunging Lira = Cheap Vacation
Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the world to visit. With the Turkish Lira sinking rapidly against the U.S. Dollar and Euro, it merits mentioning that a holiday in Turkey suddenly becomes much more attractive.
Don’t discount a vacation to Turkey over safety fears. One advantage to despotic regimes is greater law and order. Sure there is risk, but there is risk in every major city. The beautiful east-meets-west city of Istanbul is a treasure of this world and undoubtedly worth the journey.
Sadly, this is exactly the crisis Turkish Airlines should be capitalizing on to draw customers to Turkey or to travel via Turkey. Instead, the carrier is acting as a dutiful pawn.
I don’t really try to hide my bias in this article, but here’s what I know. Turkish Airlines is a great airline: one of my favorite in the world. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines is a great asset to U.S. travelers. Thus, I hate to see stories about Turkish pulling ad campaigns or the looming threat of eliminating service. Turkish Airlines may be the poor pawn that moves at the behest of its king, but this particular pawn can sink many knights.