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So much has happened since July 15 that it may be hard to believe that Turkey’s attempted military coup took place in the middle of last month. While it once again appears to be business as usual as far as Ataturk Airport and tourism in Istanbul are concerned, until just two weeks ago today, the FAA had banned flights departing Turkey from entering the US, effectively making it impossible for Turkish Airlines to operate service to the United States.
It now appears that the airline has at least partially recovered from its time offline, but aside from some not-so-helpful communications on social media, we haven’t heard much from Turkish directly. It’s a bit odd, then, that the carrier’s first order of business appears to be renaming its famous CIP Lounge at IST.
As Twitter user @starflyergold points out, Turkish Airlines has used the welcome letter in the August issue of its in-flight magazine to acknowledge the events of July 15, and to introduce its new “July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge” — yes, that’s really what it’s called. Here’s the opening text:
Turkey went through a critical turning point on the night of July 15. We are still seeing the effects and consequences of this fateful night. This process revealed many things to us. Firstly, The Republic of Turkey, which has been a symbol of stability with its increasing influence in the region and the world, and its strengthening democracy, has the capacity to stand erect and will never lose this strength. Secondly, the people, who defeated this vile attempt that was aiming to undermine the parliament, its selected representatives and will, rallied upon our President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call and underlined the fact that democracy is the best way of administration for Turkey. Moreover, the resulting atmosphere of national solidarity and unity, as well as the rekindled patriotic feelings, reinforced our high hopes for a better future. In order to commemorate this historic day, we decided to change the name of our CIP Passenger Lounge at Atatürk Airport to “July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge.”
While this move might seem like something you’d expect from a small local carrier, Turkish Airlines is a very large international airline, and a member of the Star Alliance. Many of the passengers passing through the July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge are simply connecting from one country en-route to another, having never stepped foot outside the airport. This largely political decision seems like an unlikely move for an airline with the tagline “Globally yours.”
Still, I’m planning to fly Turkish (on a United award ticket) next spring — and I’m looking forward to photographing the new “July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge” at IST.
Will you be visiting the July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge?
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