Last week, a woman who was connected through a phone line to a television show hosted by Müge Anlı on the ATV Channel began to speak in Zazaki, an Indo-European language spoken by ethnic Zazas, a minority Kurdish group. Though one of the guests in the studio said she could translate, the Zaza woman’s voice was first bleeped. It was clear she had asked if she could express speak in Zazaki. But as the guest offered to translate, the TV host retorted there was “no point in broadcasting something we don’t understand.” The Zaza woman’s voice was cut off from the show.

After many calls from society to apologize to the “Zazas”, including from Justice and Development Party Vice-President Cevdet Yılmaz, Turkish TV host Müge Anlı refused to apologize. Speaking during her show today on the channel ATV, Anlı said she had “not said anything”.

“I wish I spoke that language but this situation has nothing to do with me, the directing room upstairs should have known but this is not the United Nations,” she said. “We don’t have interpreters for every language. I wish we had that kind of means. This not something done against Zaza language. We broadcast in Turkish. Had it been planned we would have hired an interpreter. If one day she says something negative about our institutions, then people will say ‘You let her talk that way’. What can I do? Put yourself in my place. That is called empathy. What other goal than helping these people do we have?” Müge Anlı added.