Turkish says Kobe 'not a political statement'

GLENDALE, Calif. The airline said Bryant has nothing to do with Turkey's political situation.

Many in Los Angeles' large Armenian community want Bryant to dump the deal because Turkey refuses to recognize the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-19 by the Ottoman Turks as genocide.

In a statement, Turkish Airlines said, "Kobe Bryant is a cultural figure, not a historian, and is in no way related to a sensitive and complex controversy over highly contested history. The relationship between Kobe and Turkish Airlines is a business endorsement partnership, not a political statement."

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