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Turkish News Anchor Fired After Appearing With a Starbucks Coffee on Live Broadcast

In a recent turn of events, award-winning news anchor Meltem Günay, aged 45, and the program director at TGRT Haber found themselves ousted from their positions following a Sunday broadcast on December 24. The controversy arose due to the presence of a Starbucks coffee cup on Günay’s desk during the live transmission, a move perceived not only as potential hidden advertising but also as a provocative act in Turkey, where Starbucks is viewed as having pro-Israel associations.

TGRT Haber swiftly took action post-broadcast, terminating the contracts of both Meltem Günay and the program director. In an official statement, the channel cited the incident as contrary to the company’s principles, particularly emphasizing the need to be mindful of the sensitivities of the Turkish people concerning the situation in Gaza. The dismissal sheds light on the longstanding tension between Turkish sentiments and perceived pro-Israel alignments.

The media company addressed the matter on social media, stating, “In the news broadcast of TGRT Haber TV dated 24.12.2023, Meltem Günay, who was an announcer, was seen presenting the news with a Starbucks cup in front of her.” The statement highlighted the institution’s strict prohibition against anchors advertising any company and explained that both the news anchor and director were terminated for just cause.

TGRT Haber affirmed its commitment to standing by the Gaza and Turkish people, pledging to protect their sensitivities. Starbucks, in this context, has become a subject of boycott in Turkey, driven by allegations of bias towards Israel. This sentiment is deeply in-built in the country’s socio-political fabric, particularly given Turkey’s adversarial stance towards Israel under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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