Public broadcaster CyBC’s refusal to broadcast Turkish Airlines advertisements during the upcoming Euro 2016 football championships appears moot as it would not be the first time the airline has had publicity in Cyprus, according to local media.
Turkish Airlines is one of the official sponsors of the Euro 2016, but CyBC said earlier this week it would not be airing its ads for legal and political reasons.
CyBC said it had contacted representatives of the EBU, UEFA, and CAA11, the private company managing the Euro 2016 rights, and requested that it be exempt from broadcasting Turkish Airline commercials.
In the request, which even the foreign ministry weighed in on, CyBC argued that Turkish Airlines flies daily to the illegal Ercan (Tymbou) airport in the occupied north of the island.
“It is therefore the official position of the CyBC,” it said, “that we cannot transmit any Turkish Airlines sponsorship material, as we would be advertising a company who does not respect the officially recognised Republic of Cyprus.”
Since the story broke, however, media sleuths have dug up photos depicting Turkish Airlines banners haunting a number of sports events in Cyprus.
One instance, uncovered by daily Politis, was a Euroleague basketball game played at the Tassos Papadopoulos indoor sports arena in Nicosia, on October 25, 2013.
The tournament was sponsored by Turkish Airlines, and photos from the in-game action clearly depict Turkish Airlines banners around the basketball court.
Footage from the game in question was broadcast by all television channels, including CyBC.
Politis likewise found it ironic that the four bleachers at the Tassos Papadopoulos arena are named after occupied areas: Kyrenia, Ammochostos (Famagusta), Karpasia and Morfou.
In its earlier statement, CyBC said: “We do realise though that, during the Euro 2016 matches, there will be visible banners of the official sponsors and we do not have any objection to that.”
It was not clear whether the CyBC had considered a possible workaround to its predicament: pixelating the Turkish airlines banners from the stadia in France.
Admittedly this might have proved tricky, since the games are broadcast live and CyBC technicians would therefore need to be on hand and alert every time the camera panned.