AYF Calls on Kobe to Donate Turkish Blood Money to Charity

Kobe Bryant

LOS ANGELES—As Kobe Bryant prepares to celebrate his endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines at a Paramount Studios launch party,  the Armenian Youth Federation calls on Kobe to recognize and understand the ramifications of becoming the face of the state-run airline and to take steps to correct this lapse in judgment.

The Republic of Turkey, which runs Turkish Airlines, has attempted to mollify international condemnation of its human rights record through thinly-veiled public relations ploys.  These gimmicks, which include abusing the reputation of athletes and stars and employing multi-million dollar political lobbyists, cannot hide Turkey’s contempt for the rights of its citizens and for its own history. 

Turkey uses brutal violence against its Kurdish minority, whose demonstrations have been crushed time and time again.  Furthermore, Turkey continues to repress free speech and arrests journalists.  Just last year, the Turkish government offered refuge to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for charges of Genocide.  Most shameful is Turkey’s decades-long attempts to distort and deny the Armenian genocide.  A few months ago, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was the 2010 recipient of the Muammar Gaddafi prize for human rights, threatened to deport  the remaining Armenians from Turkey.

Recently, celebrity entertainers including Beyoncé Knowles, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, and others have come under public scrutiny for accepting large cash payouts for performing at lavish parties hosted by the family of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  Following Gaddafi’s brutal crackdown on protesters, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 demonstrators, demands surfaced for music stars to admit to accepting money from the regime and for them to donate the same amount to charity. 

Last week Nelly Furtado tweeted that she would be donating the one million dollars she received, and representatives for Beyoncé have released a statement declaring that all monies she accepted from the Gaddafi family were donated to Haitian earthquake relief efforts.

This highlights the increasing need for celebrities and public figures to be sensitive and act with the utmost prudence and responsibility when sponsoring or endorsing products and events.  The status of celebrity in today’s world goes far beyond dollar signs and necessitates accountability and understanding. 

We are deeply saddened by Kobe Bryant’s dismissive attitude toward the concerns of thousands of his fans.  His silence has been deafening.

We believe that Mr. Bryant’s sole concern off the court is not just to make money; rather we hope that he recognizes his role in world as an ambassador of humanity, not of Turkish Airlines.
We ask Kobe Bryant to use this unique opportunity to act as a responsible and dignified public figure and to donate the proceeds from his deal with the state-run Turkish Airlines to genocide and human rights education and awareness programs such as The Genocide Education Project.


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  1. Kiazer Souze said:

    What did you expect from a sodomizing rapist? What did you expect from the vengeful decapitating serial killers who want him as their representative? Are your kids going to burn the Bryant memorablia anytime soon?

  2. Aydin said:

    Very disappointing article. Actually it saddens me…There is no way, no how, AYF can positively affect Turkish Government’s behavior with these kinds of idiotic attacks…On the contrary, they cheapen their cause and harden the resolve of Turkish Nationalist to oppose Turkish Government’s any reconciliation efforts…Pity…

    • gary said:

      The Turkish Government’s reconciliation is a farce. It never had any true intentions. It did that for “media” purposes so it could hold up genocide recognition. 21 countries recognize it and more will. Time is running out for Turkey.

  3. Raffi Haig Hamparian said:

    I applaud the AYF for their thoughtful, firm, and principled position on the matter related to Kobe Bryant accepting blood money from the Republic of Turkey. The AYF has the moral high ground, Kobe should join them. He can start the ball rolling by donating his blood money to charity.

    • manooshag said:

      Yes, with such monies Bryant can come to the aid the Darfurians, whom he had recognized and spoke up for (he may recall, a few years ago) whose Genocide – is/was perpetrated by the Sudanese against the Darfurians. Manooshag

  4. ....... said:

    I here this from many people oh yea what does it matter kobe isnt Armenian but he is Supporting these Filty Animals that try destroying Armenians mainly because They were thinking after 600 years of No armenia that we would Die out But they were disappionted and since were christains they targeted us These are the main reasons He shouldnt be Supporting them Imsure If you show this to him hell think twice before he signed that contract

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  6. immortal Souls of western Armenia risen said:

    i congratulate our young Armenians for this step with Kobe, he needs to, as with all, public and celebrity figures, understand the world ” we are the world” the world is one big community, we are for each other, and if any group or state such as Turkey and Azerbaijan,and the others like them. continue Genocide denial and continue the cover up, no one will accept them in the world’s civilized community, its simply not acceptable anymore.. and Kobe, knows this well. He doesn’t need to be Armenian, he is a World citizen and an international figure, with a family of his own. He simply must honor himself and his kids, with an integrity and grace of a father. his responsibility is to the world and since he is a father, then to all the young who look up to him as well as his own kids. who would be ashamed of his act, when they are old enough to know. he needs to step up, this is an opportunity for him to go higher… he needs to be braver than he has ever been bigger than he can ever imagine.. that’s what it’s like when you really join in not as an athlete but as a human being one for another.

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  8. robig said:

    Now, Miss Turkey is doing ads for Carl’s Jr. Let’s boycott Carl’s Jr. now!