Turkish Airlines stops distributing ‘Heroes’ kits on overseas flights

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(Photo: Hürriyet)

Following a series of detentions across Turkey of people wearing T-shirts bearing the word “Hero,” an alleged symbol of support for last year’s coup attempt, Turkish Airlines (THY) has stopped distribution of its “Heroes” kits to children on board its planes during overseas flights, Hürriyet reported on Sunday.

According to the report, THY halted distribution of the “Heroes” branded onboard package, which includes a magazine, slippers, socks and headphones.

THY press spokesman Yahya Üstün said the company had decided to change the Heroes brand, which was created by the company in 2014, six months ago and added that the process had been accelerated after the arrest of people wearing “hero” T-shirts.

The hero T-shirts became an issue when Gökhan Güçlü, one of the suspects on trial for an assassination attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the night of a coup attempt last year, was thrown out of the courtroom on July 13 for wearing a similar T-shirt.

More than a dozen people have been detained, with some of them arrested by the court, for wearing the T-shirts since July 13.

According to the private İhlas news agency, the textile firm that manufactures the hero T-shirts stopped production after discussions with the police. The T-shirts were withdrawn from sale in stores and online, İhlas said.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Ahmet Yıldırım said on Aug. 17 that the government made jailed noncommissioned officer Güçlü wear a hero T-shirt to force coup suspects to wear identical uniforms in court.

Despite reactions that it would be against human rights, President Erdoğan on Aug. 20 said identical uniforms designed for jailed suspects in trials concerning a failed coup would soon be put into practice.

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