ANCA challenges Ben Affleck/Turkish Airlines deal

Photo: ANCA


Armenian Weekly – American commercial broadcast television and radio network CBS’s Super Bowl 50 pregame broadcast on Feb. 7 was sponsored in part by Turkish Airlines. The company used its airtime to feature its media partnership with the upcoming film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” As the “official airline partner” of the $200 million Hollywood production, Turkish Airlines debuted a series of commercials of fictitious ads urging travellers to visit the fictional cities of Gotham City and Metropolis—the settings of the popular Batman and Superman franchises.

The Turkish Airlines Super Bowl advertisements, which can cost up to $5 million for 30 seconds of air time according to a statement made in 2015 by a CBS network executive, feature cameo appearances by famed Hollywood actors Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

“Turkish Airlines, which was launched in 1933 as part of Turkey’s Ministry of Defense and is still 49.12 percent officially owned by the Erdogan government, strived mightily to polish an increasingly tarnished Turkish brand by running a series of Batman-themed Super Bowl ads, starring Ben Affleck,” read a part of a Facebook post shared by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“This airline represents a major source of revenue for a government that remains complicit with ISIS, obstructs justice for the Armenian Genocide, illegally blockades Armenia, militarily occupies Cyprus, brutally suppresses the Kurds, jails record numbers of journalists, and violates the human, civic, and religious rights of its own citizens—destabilizing the Middle East and representing a material threat to peace around the world. Flying Turkish Airlines funds a government complicit in ISIS brutality and guilty of both regional aggression and domestic oppression,” read the post.

In a separate Facebook post, the ANCA highlighted the fact that actor Ben Affleck has been an outspoken critic of human rights abuses in the Congo, but is being hypocritical by working for the airline, which is partly owned by the Turkish government. “Affleck is being hypocritical, calling out evil on the one hand, and enabling it with the other. All the while, enriching himself through ties with a government that he knows very well uses Super Bowl ads and movie tie-ins (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) to cover up its obstruction of justice for genocide and its escalating domestic repression and regional aggression,” read a part of the post.

Affleck is the founder of Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), an advocacy and grant-making initiative focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo. According to the organization’s website, the ECI “envision(s) an eastern Congo vibrant with abundant opportunities for economic and social development, where a robust civil society can flourish.”

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