A Turkish TV presenter who appeared during a live broadcast with a Starbucks cup has been fired after she was accused of supporting a brand regarded as ‘pro-Israeli’.
News anchor Meltem Gunay, as can be seen in this video, appeared on the Turkish channel TGRT with a Starbucks cup in front of her on 24th December.
Local media reported that this caused a flood of complaints from viewers about the unwitting promotion for the coffee brand which has been considered as ‘pro-Israel’ in the country.
TGRT said in a statement on X: “In the news broadcast of TGRT Haber TV dated 24.12.2023, Meltem Gunay, who was an anchor, seen presenting the news with a Starbucks cup in front of her.
“In accordance with the principles of our institution, it is strictly forbidden for the announcer to present on TGRT News TV in a way that will covertly advertise any company.
“The news anchor and director who acted contrary to this principle were terminated for just cause.
“Our institution has an understanding that knows the sensitivities of the Turkish people regarding Gaza and defends them to the end.
“It is absolutely impossible to approve any action or broadcast that is contrary to this central message.
“We do not approve of this action of the presenter and director, whose employment contracts were terminated, and we strongly condemn it.
“For this reason only, their employment contracts were terminated.
“From now on, our institution will continue to stand by the Gaza and Turkish people and protect their sensitivities until the end. It is announced to the public with respect. TGRT Haber TV A.S.”
However, Gunay said she just forgot the cup and added: “I am a person who has spent 27 years doing this job and has never said a single word that would hurt the conscience of my state or my nation.
“The sensitivities of my state and my nation have always been my priority.
“Those who really follow my work know; I have always stood against oppression.
“I spent the last 14 years of my 27-year career under the umbrella of TGRT news and I have never said a single negative word about my organization, either on or off the screen. So how did I make such a mistake?
“This is a question that my close circle asks as much as you. You are right. How can a person who has never made a single hurtful word or action against the principles of the media I work for throughout my career make this mistake?
She continued: “The most sincere answer I will give is; I am human. I forgot the cup there. That’s everything.
“I forgot and at first it didn’t catch anyone’s eye, and when it was noticed it was removed immediately. Yes, I am a human, not a machine, I can make mistakes.
“I admit it, and I’m very sorry. A single mistake, a mistake of forgetting. Without any other motivation, no sinister reasons, it was not a conscious idea to do this.
Gunay also said: “I’m really sorry. And I am sorry if I unknowingly or unintentionally hurt anyone.
“I am writing this sincere apology and explanation message not to avoid losing my job, but to truly explain and apologize.”
Starbucks has not yet commented on the incident.