Pro-gov’t broadcaster pulls Turkish student in Ukraine off air: 'Turkish girls don’t cry'

A young Turkish student stranded in the besieged Ukrainian city of Kharkov was pulled off the air by pro-government broadcaster A Haber for critiquing evacuation efforts by the Turkish government.

Duvar English

A Turkish student named Duygu Birgül, stranded in the besieged Ukrainian city of Kharkov, was taken off the air by pro-government broadcaster A Haber on Feb. 27 after she expressed doubts about the efficacy of the Turkish evacuation effort. 

“Turkish girls don’t cry,” one of the show’s guests, Dr. Mesut Hakkı Caşın, told her.

Presenter Gökhan Kurt further interrupted Birgül as she expressed desperation from her local bomb shelter, saying the Turkish state would rescue her. 

“Our state will reach you to help soon. Today, the evacuations continued at full speed,” he insisted.

Reports from the ground contradict this, with many students and other Turkish people stranded in Ukraine with commercial flights canceled insisting that they had not received communications from the government. 

Birgül was visibly upset, video calling from the shelter near her home in Kharkov. She said evacuations in that city, which is under heavy attack from the Russian military, had stalled.

“Only 50 students were evacuated from here, there are 800 more people. Our situation is very urgent. Maybe I won't even be able to have this conversation in half an hour,” she said.

At that point, Kurt interrupted her, and moments later she was pulled off the air.