Turkish Just Renamed Their Istanbul Lounge WHAT?!?

Filed Under: Media, Turkish

Turkey sure has had a rough several weeks. In late June several explosions went off at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, and then a couple of weeks later there was an attempted military coup. Tourism in Turkey was already way down before these two things happened due to general safety concerns, and I imagine it’s down even further now.

It must be especially rough for Turkish Airlines, given that they’re a pretty solid airline with fantastic business class catering and a very nice lounge in Istanbul, possibly one of the nicest business class lounges out there. The airline relies largely on connecting traffic to fill planes, and personally I’d feel completely safe flying with them right now. However, I know others feel differently.


Well, in light of the events of a couple of weeks ago, Turkish Airlines has decided to change the name of their Istanbul Lounge to the “July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge.”


Per the “welcome aboard letter” in Skylife, Turkish Airlines’ inflight magazine:

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.”

Alrighty then…

(Tip of the hat to @starflyergold)

  1. Its a long name but, seeing it from a local’s perspective (i.e. be empathetic), the naming stands accurate and true. I dont see anything wrong with it.

  2. I bet either the name was forced on them by the government or they proactively did it to avoid the wrath of the autocracy. There’s no way an airline would come up with such a mouthful name for a lounge, and who really cares what a lounge is named anyway? It doesn’t make any sense from a business perspective. It is definitely my all-time favorite business lounge, though I do gain five pounds any time I visit.

  3. For the sake of the thousands of innocent people who lost their freedom, the freedom of speech or their jobs, during the purge that followed the failed coup, stop flying Turkish Airlines and stop traveling to Turkey.

  4. Turkish Airlines is 49% owned, and effectively controlled, by the Turkish Government. It is therefore not surprising that it will do the Government’s bidding

  5. Turkey is such a joke. I don’t feel unsafe going there, but I don’t ever want to go back as long as he is “leading” the country.

  6. For a UF marketing graduate I suggest you stick with your core competency of raving about krug and grand hyatts.

    Leave geopolitical snark to others who have a) lived in those countries and/or b) have an acquaintance of said countries/cultures beyond the departures lounge at IST.

  7. I tend towards the school of thought that says it was a successful purge rather than a failed coup (or at the least that coup attempt was a poorly-planned act of desperation, triggered by the looming purge). Turkish’s action seems to be a particularly servile attempt to assure Erdogan that they are on the “right” side (his side).

    And, of course, They Might Be Giants said it best:
    “Even old New York,
    Was once New Amsterdam.
    Why they changed it I can’t say,
    People just liked it better that waaaayyyy.”

  8. TK basically isn’t an option anymore. I won’t fly on an airline owned by a dictatorship. FAA should have banned TK from the US long-term.

  9. believe me it is not safe to fly Turkish, aside new enemies the old ones are the most dangerous and now active and have all the rights to do whatever, the Kurds went thru genocide by turkish people and now it is time to take back every smile and every life taken and ruined, it is going to be mad mad mad, this is nothing, avoid Turkish!

  10. Lucky, I am originally from Iraq and this is EXACTLY how Saddam started! Look up YouTube videos for Saddam’s 1979 “traitors” purge and read more about it then you’ll see the similarities.
    What’s astonishing for me is that Turkish people didn’t revolt before the military saw this as its last chance to stand up. I’ve been saying it for a while now, we must boycott tourism in Turkey to make the people feel Erdoğan’s decisions impact from open doors policy for ISIS fighters between Syria and the West to playing musical chairs with his prime minister to stay in power!

  11. If there’s ever an example of Orwellian Newspeak this is it.

    Turkey’s going full on islamic and Europe’s in a world of shit.

  12. I knew this was coming when the airline’s official statement after the incident started with: “With the unflinching will of the people, Turkey has waken to a new day with a much stronger sense of democracy…”

  13. Oh Boy… Stalin did this all over in the 1950’s , renaming everything to this kind of slogans…. no?

  14. TK is petrified of their President, Democracy, what Democracy ! TK give us a break please, we not stupid

  15. Democracy means not living under a state sponsored religion. It means the power of the people to overthrow a government anywhere, anytime, for any reason. It means the power to change. It means the power to represent themselves. It means the power to seek justice, against the government when it has wronged the people. Heroes put their life on the line, not hide in secret locations and communicate via FaceTime then cut off utilities and restrict the free flow of the people, while imprisoning those who have spoken for change.

  16. It is a Turkish Airline lounge in a Turkish Airport. It is up to them what they want to name it and not for us judge!!

    Well said, YHM

  17. Stop denouncing Turkey and its democratically elected LEADER!
    And if you hate him so much thanks to the totally in misleading western mainstream media, GO AHEAD!
    New York Times, CNN and many others just tweeted and published headlines of lies that Erdoğan is seeking asylum and escaping from the terrorist military junta… And you people are following those lie machines.
    Erdoğan landed onto IST Atatürk Airport right at the moment the traiter couper F16 fighter jets were diving up and down in IST airspace. That was something NONE of your so called leaders would ever done!

    And the bitter thing is, NONE of US or EU leaders demonized the illegal US/CIA supported coup attempt UNTIL it was obvious PEOPLE OF TURKEY stopped the tanks and infantry from invading the country.

    So, if you are ok with getting caught up with the anti-Erdoğan propaganda, just keep getting.
    But just think a little bit how obvious it is that a leader loved by much of his countrymen for having his country make a stand against western powers is hated much more than the rich, luxury drown middle eastern dictators.. Just think…

  18. If anyone is so offended by this that they would rather sit at the gate rather than use their lounge passes to the July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge please let me know.

  19. That sounds like what I’d expect in Iran or something. I expected better from Turkey.

    The wifi in that lounge is dysfunctionally slow, and for a lounge that size, 2 showers is completely unacceptable. I usually go there for a drink (and a shower if there’s no line), and then hit the primeclass lounge (the downstairs one) for normal wifi, decent couches, and OK food.

  20. In the turkish lounge right now. Nothing to be seen of the name change, no political phamflets on the plane either

    From the surface, looks like business as usual

  21. Monkey see,Monkey do

    Why name the BA First lounge at Heathrow T5 The Concorde Room when you can name it…


    The worlds airline lounges may all be named after a historical event in the home country.

  22. This was just for the short period during the coup. Was only there & asked staffed & they laughed.
    It’s still the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge.

  23. Writing this from the TK Lounge in IST. The only visible trace of the new name is the WiFi password so far… and I wouldn’t be surprised if that remains the only visible trace.

    (at first I thought 15JUL was just and old password from July 2015)

  24. Some of the comments here about boycotting TK’s commercial offerings (flights, lounges) are slightly ridiculous. This is a luxury travel miles/points blog for an international, albeit primarily US-based audience and Turkish domestic politics should be left out of it.

    After 2.5 weeks of work in the African continent I flew ABV-IST-MAN on a J award in Sep 2016 and everything went like clockwork. The arrivals lounge was charming, the CIP lounge was busy as usual but is still among the top J (even comparable to F) lounges in the world, and the old city was quiet and peaceful. The free Turkish Airlines city tour (including meals!) worked like a treat, which is the reason why I planned my trip (on an SQ KF award booking) to include a 12.5hr layover. In fact this counted among my best miles redemptions to date.

    Granted am just a single business traveller admittedly lacking any deep appreciation of the prevailing undercurrents in Turkish politics, but to call for a boycott of TK’s products and services just strikes me as absurd.

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