TV host cuts off question asked to AKP Istanbul candidate Kurum about Gaza

TV channel Habertürk host Mehmet Akif Ersoy has cut off a student’s question to ruling AKP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Murat Kurum about his plans to help Gaza if elected for being “political.” Kurum answered the question after the program.

Duvar English

Mehmet Akif Ersoy, TV program host on the Habertürk channel, on March 10 cut off a student’s question during a live interview with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul mayoral candidate Murat Kurum for being "political." 

Kurum was the main guest on the show to answer university students’ questions about his “personal life.” Famous arabesque musician and outspoken Kurum supporter Orhan Gencebay was also a guest. 

Ersoy wanted the audience to ask “nice” questions, or “they would get angry with us.” 

The female student asked Kurum, “Mr. Mayor, when you win the elections, what kind of plans for Palestine and Gaza—” before Ersoy cut her off. 

“This won’t do, can you please hand over the microphone quickly,” he said. The student gave the microphone away, and Kurum left the question unanswered. 

The next question was whether Kurum had a family group chat. Ersoy liked this question, saying “This is more like it.”

Earlier in the show, the hosts interrupted another question. “Who is your idol, and why,” wanted to ask a student from Istanbul University.

Co-host Aslı Şafak intervened, “When you say idol, you don’t mean political. Is it in literature? An actor, musician, football player? What kind of an idol do you mean?” 

The student left it to Kurum to answer as he pleased. Kurum’s answer was, however President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “Because he’s a world leader,” he said. 

The Gaza question drew criticism on social media. Ersoy shared a video where he explained his interjection. “The program was not political in nature,” he said.  

Kurum responded to criticism by finding the cut-off student at the studio and responding to her question after the show. 

He shared the moment on his social media account. “We mourn for Gaza every day… We shall continue standing alongside Gaza by doing everything necessary and taking all necessary steps. We will use all our resources to help Palestine,” was his answer.   

“The youth will ask, and we will answer,” he wrote in the social media post. 

The Turkish government has been among the staunchest critics of Israel’s attacks in Gaza, and pro-government organizations have frequently called Turkish citizens to boycotts. 

Nevertheless, many reports revealed that some companies close to the Turkish government and Islamist business group Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MÜSİAD) have been continuing their ties with Israel.

Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data in November revealed that Israeli imports increased after the attacks on Gaza began on Oct. 7, 2023.