Armenian Community Mobilizing to Stop Kobe’s Deal with Turkey

Within days of announcing Kobe Bryant’s new endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines, Southern California’s Armenian community is angry over what they call insensitivity by the LA Lakers superstar. Armenian Americans hope that Kobe would balance what clearly looks to be a profitable business deal with a strong moral statement against Turkey’s violations of human rights, including, of course, its ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide. 

The Armenian Youth Federation has urged Bryant to stay true to his loyal fan base and rescind his contract with Turkish Airlines. The AYF is also urging Bryant to put out an official statement affirming his commitment to ending human rights abuses and voicing his support for House Resolution 252, calling on the United States Congress to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. NBC4 carries the story.

Read more about the developing issue on the Armenian Youth Federation website here.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. jda said:

    I really don’t understand this one. As Turkey grows in economic and political power, she and her industries will lure more and more celebrities. There is no way that Kobe or others will turn away the liras. By demanding that they do so, we look small and ineffective. These are fights we can’t win. Save your ammo for a better target you can hit.

    • John Cook said:

      You are right we can not prevent deals like this one, but we don’t have to turn a blind eye nor a cheek. He has to feel the heat. He was always selfish and self centered, which he demonstrated both on the court and off the court in his family life. He supposedly supported preventing Genocide in Darfur, but turns around and makes a multi million dollar deal with the deniers of the same Genocide.

      • jda said:

        I am surprised that the TA, owned in part by an Islamist government, wants an adulterer and alleged rapist as spokesman. I am sure Kobe will eventually express sadness for all the losses of wwi, in a statement written by the Turkish government. I think we can do without help from Kobe, whose morals are a disgrace. I don’t care if an alleged rapist proclaims the greatness of the airlines owned by a government which denies the Genocide. Maybe they can also sign up OJ and Charles Manson.

  2. Ahmet Bozkurt said:

    I am Turkish guy from Kayseri, one of the very densely populated Armenian City in Turkey before 1915. While I am one of the many Turks that feels terribly sorry about what happened in 1915, I always admire Armenian Culture, Architecture, Food, Art and many more that they have been excelled in Anatolia as being the first inhabitants of my city and my country.

    Let us not forget, when first Turks came from Central Asia to Anatolia, including the Ottomans, they were only couple of thousands of people who were very aggressive fighters and ended up taking the control of couple of million people living in Anatolia, mostly Armenians and Romans.

    95% of today’s Turks, including myself, in terms of physical appearance have nothing to do with the Asiatic original Turks, whereas Turks and Armenians have 99% same physical features.
    Let’s please not deny that whatever happened on this land; some people were forced to change their religion, get killed, forced to depart their homelands, people were always the same people for 10 thousand years.

    Therefore, instead of campaigning against the positive developments in Turkey and against the liberalization and democratization of the country, let’s all work together, for Anatolian people (does not matter if they are Turks, Kurds, Armenian’s, etc, they have all same origins!) to confess what happened on this land including the 1915 disaster.

    A better, more developed, more democratized, more liberal Anatolia is for the benefit for all of us!

    You are all my brothers and sisters, I love you all!

    • ArdeVast Atheian said:

      My dear Turkish soul-mate Ahmed. Yes we love you too and we love all Turks like you. All we want is a truthful depiction of our relationships the way they used to be.
      Islam is a religion of war, conquest and subjugation. Christianity is a religion of peace, order, coexistence and civilization. To this day, Muslims have always been self-righteous whereas Christians have always felt guilty, confused and maladjusted by war, hostilities and antagonisms.
      Christians have always been the losing side in the interaction of those two religions.
      Once these aspects of those two religions are recognized and accepted, there can be peace and harmony between our two people.
      All we want is for the world to know how much we as Christians have suffered in the hands of Muslims.
      Perhaps one day you could give us a few of our Armenian lands back like access to the black sea, like Artsakh (Karapagh), may be Nakhichevan? It wouldn’t cost you much. I doubt if you could ever feel the loss. And may be end your blockade of our tiny landlocked country?
      All Turks like you are noble and movingly kind but you got to admit that a lot has changed since Ataturk introduced secularism to your culture. It’s not the same Turkey anymore. And yes it’s a much better Turkey than it used to be. There is hope.

    • Osik said:

      Dear Ahmet Bozkurt,

      We embrace the small minority of Turks that by risking their and their family lives are appear in conferences, write books and articles and because of violent prosecutions of their own government and their brainwashed agents; mostly are living in exile just for expressing their truthful ideas in regards of the Armenian Genocide by Turks.

      What happened to the “Apology” list which was accumulated on internet?

      It became an “Anti-Turkishness” list for prosecution in the hands of your Government.

      Unfortunately nowadays in Turkey “A better, more developed” doesn’t mean “more democratized, more liberal Anatolia” in contrary it means MORE CORRUPT Turkey.

    • manooshag said:

      Ahmet, ONLY after all the reparations and more due and owing to Armenians for all the humans lost to our nation due to Turk planned and perpetrated slaughters, kidnappings, rapes, tortures and more… Your Turkey will not be a democracy for another three (3) centuries… your leaders
      will make sure, at least three hundred years… For a Turkey does not know history, does not have history… and cannot read world history…. Only knows to create Genocides – today the Kurds.

  3. ak said:

    Dear Ahmet, if only the Turkish government was as open minded. Our fight is not with the Turks, its with a government which prosecutes Turks for “insulting Turkishness” even if they look for the missing pages of their history. Just as the Turkish government with all its powers and resources fights over the smallest of articles and speeches anywhere in the world that mentions Armenian Genocide, the forever live tiny community of Armenians in the world will be there to fight back and be the annoying voice that will remind the global community who they are dealing with. This deal might be all business to Kobe, but I assure you that this has way more meaning to the Turkish government than just business. We will remind Turkey what a mistake it made when it left that one last Armenian in the Museum for it came alive and now will hunt it forever.

  4. John Cook said:

    If we are all brothers and sisters, why not call it what it was, GENOCIDE, and not a simple “disaster”. An earthquake or tsunami is a disaster, this was Genocide, don’t try to marginalizing it.
    Your “Nagini” song works on snakes only, not Humans.

  5. jda said:


    Your message is a breath of fresh air, especially in comparison to the typical things we read from your government and the Turkish lobby in the United States. A leader of that lobby, Ergun Kirlikovali, says things here and elsewhere that look like the worst Nazi propaganda. So, a statement of brotherhood and compassion is welcome.

    I do not speak for anyone but myself, but there are three things I would urge you to consider doing.

    1894-1896, 1913-1923, 1933 and 1955 were man-made “disasters”. Unlike the natural variety, they were unnecessary. Also, unlike the natural variety, they were not chaotic and unplanned. The deaths of 1.5M Armenians [that is the 1915 number alone], and hundreds of thousands of Christian Maronites, Assyrians, Greeks and Pontics were deliberate murder by the state. They were accompanied by the theft of property, the destruction of a flourishing ancient culture, as you point out, and an ongoing effort to destroy all memory of these destroyed peoples. The effort to kill memory is ongoing today. Your governemnt even changes the names of animals and mountains to erase the presence of the Armenians.

    First, I ask you to look at the museums of Sivas, which we call Sepastia. If there are no references to the Armenians and other Christian peoples, raise a stink with the museum director and the local press as to why this should be the case. You as a Turk can restore memory to your people.

    Second, be braver in your language. It was not a disaster alone, It was Genocide.

    Third, work for more freedom in your country so that nationalists will be as unwelcome some day as racist Nazis are here. Take inspiration from brave Turks who risked their lives to save Christians in 1915, from the brave Armenian Ottoman soldiers who fought for the OE in WWI [ Captain Torossian, who sunk an enemy ship, was awarded by Enver, and who found his family deported and murdered], and from brave Turks and Kurds who today speak truth.

  6. Charles said:

    By the way Turkish Airlines is one of the most dangerous airlines around the world

    Turkish Airlines (124.48 fatalities per million passengers)

  7. hratch said:

    It is an utter shame that we must look to others for salvation. What we lack can not be compensated by others!

  8. Van said:

    Another failure of the Armenian community. If we had a professional, full-time, well salaried lobby in all major Armenian centers instead of holding bake sales, picnics, bazaars, and fund raisers for duplicate churches, duplicate community centers, duplicate Youth Federations, duplicate schools, duplicate New Years dinners and other foolish activities than we would have honored the genocide victims a long time ago. How pathetic! We only have ourselves to hold responsible for the state we are in.

  9. Sharron Clemons said:

    You are right we can not prevent deals like this one, but we don’t have to turn a blind eye nor a cheek. He has to feel the heat. He was always selfish and self centered, which he demonstrated both on the court and off the court in his family life. He supposedly supported preventing Genocide in Darfur, but turns around and makes a multi million dollar deal with the deniers of the same Genocide.

  10. Pingback: Kobe Bryant’s Mistake and the Lesson for Our Youth - The Armenian National Committee of America

  11. Pingback: Kobe Bryant’s Mistake and the Lesson for Our Youth - Armenian National Committee of America

  12. Pingback: Kobe Bryant’s Mistake and the Lesson for Our Youth - Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region