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February 14, 2016 4:17 pm

Turkish Cellphone Company Pulls Humorous ‘Anti-Valentine’s Day’ Commercial Amid Criticism for Using Antisemitic Singer as Draw

avatar by Ruthie Blum

A scene from the 'anti-Valentine's Day' commercial released and then withdrawn by Turkcell, Turkey's largest cellphone operator. Photo: Screenshot.

A scene from the ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’ commercial released and then withdrawn by Turkcell, Turkey’s largest cellphone operator. Photo: Screenshot.

Turkey’s largest cellphone company pulled a commercial it released last week ahead of Valentine’s Day, following complaints over its use of a singer who tweeted antisemitic comments, the pro-Erdogan newspaper Daily Sabah reported on Saturday night.

Turkcell discontinued the video, which poked fun at the holiday, claiming to provide an “alternative” for singles with nobody special in their lives, forced to grin and bear it as everyone else seems to be enjoying chocolate, flowers and romance. The ad was created by the company’s youth division, Gnetrkell, which offers special packages and deals for young consumers.

The humorous “anti-Valentine’s Day” clip featured Turkish pop-folk singer Yıldız Tilbe leading a group of youth in a performance of one of her popular songs with the lyrics: “Tilbe is the cure for Valentine’s Day.”

After circulating widely on social media, the ad was pulled, and Turkcell CEO Kaan Terzioğlu explained on Twitter why the company – with some 35 million subscribers, half the entire Turkish market — felt compelled to remove it.

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”We pulled the video because no content is worth ignoring the sensitivities of ‘any’ nation or religion,” Terzioğlu said, according to Daily Sabah.

He was referring not to the content of the commercial, which made no mention of any particular ethnic group, but to the fact that it starred Tilbe, whose antisemitic remarks on Twitter in 2014 caused a stir.

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