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Turkish Airlines shows hatred and racism towards Armenians

It really makes me puke when I hear about the way Turkey and Turkish Companies treat Armenians and everything Armenian. First the are trying hard to get away with a genocide, resulting in 1.5 million slaughtered Armenians, then they pressure other countries, individuals and companies into denying the historical facts of the genocide, and then they are so extremely childish that they withdraw their funding of an innocent Film Festival because an Armenian non-political movie is on the program. It is a shame!

Oslo’s biggest film festival, International Films from the South is being arranged this month for  the 25th time. Without the state-owned Turkish film company Turkish Airlines as a sponsor, as originally planned.

– Ahead of this year’s festival, we were in contact with Turkish Airlines about a sponsorship deal. We had drafted an agreement, and then agreed upon the draft as a final document.  Then, out of the blue, Turkish Airlines’ representatives suddenly resigned. In the time between the setup of the contract and their final signature, they had  seen the program and discovered that we show the Armenian film “One, Two, Three.” We think that’s why they withdrew, says festival director Lasse Skagen in Films from the South to the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen.

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This year marks the 100th Commemoration  of  Turkey’s genocide of 1.5 million Armenians . The historical event is in no way controversial among historians and justices, but Turkey vehemently refuses to call them by the judiciary correct term:  Genocide.

– We constantly made it crystal clear to Turkish Airlines that we  were going to demand full editorial freedom of the program on Films from the South. Early in the process they asked to see the Turkish films that were listed, which they did, with a clear message that they did not have any  opportunity to object to any movies or make any changes in the progam, Skagen says.

The festival and Turkish Airlines continued their negotiations,  and a deal was made. Only the signatures remained. Right before Turkish Airlines was going to sign, they wanted to see the entire program, including all the other films from other countries.

Having seen this, as only the final signing of the agreement remained, they chose to withdraw from the entire agreement.

Lasse Skagen is convinced that the Armenian film at this year’s festival program is the reason:- “One, Two, Three” is a documentary supported by Sørfond about some old people in Armenia beginning to dance. It is not political, and does not criticize  Turkey in any way. I am quite shocked as to how a Turkish state-owned company behaves just because something is about Armenia.  I  have  never experienced anything like it. This is a kind of censorship we do not want. The Norwegian Minister of Culture’s clear cut goal is that cultural events should be sponsored by different kinds of businesses.  For  us it is absolutely impossible to give in to pressure and give up on our  editorial freedom in order to obtain sponsors.”

General manager of Turkish Airlines in Norway, Selim Soyer, does not agree to what Skagen says:  – The reason why we withdrew from the sponsorship agreement was that it was too expensive for us. It’s not about Armenia. Just look at Oslo World Music Festival. We sponsor them, and they have both Armenian and Kurdish artists on the program. The problem was that we wanted to sponsor Films from the South with tickets, not money

Films from the South describes the procedure in a completely different way:

– Turkish Airlines even came up with suggestions as to  how the allocation should be between tickets and money. They refrained from signing the contract at the very last minute, a contract that just repeated the numbers from the last e-mail that was sent to us.  It is difficult to find reasons other than political ones here, says Lasse Skagen.

The newspaper has insight into emails confirming that Turkish Airlines first came up with an offer, but chose to resign soon after they had seen the full program for this year’s festival.

 

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