Turkey’s TRT probes news presenter for saying Turkish military targeting civilians in Afrin

Turkey’s state-run and public-funded Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) has announced on Monday that it launched an investigation into a news presenter who on live broadcast said the Turkish military was targeting civilians during an ongoing military campaign to capture the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

“Our reporter relayed that the Turkish armed forces were attacking civilians right from this point,” news presenter Tugba Dalkılıç told viewers during a Sunday live broadcast that showed a location purported to be Mt Bursaya which the Turkish troops was trying to capture from the US-backed Kurdish armed groups.

“The Turkish armed forces were staging bombardments from this strategic position on the civilian population,” Dalkılıç repeated for the second time.

According to TRT, the presenter said those words were a pure accident and out of “excitement of live broadcast.”

“After this sad mistake, our speaker has immediately been withdrawn from the air, and a new friend was assigned to replace her. Also, an investigation has been launched against our speaker,” a statement by TRT’s news division read.

According to Kurdistan24 news outlet, local medical sources in Afrin have confirmed that Turkish military attacks have killed 60 civilians so far, among them 26 children, and wounded over 150 others.

Dalkılıç herself apologized on Twitter, saying she meant to say the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was “targeting civilians.” “I deeply apologize in front of the public,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Oktay Candemir, a former reporter for the pro-Kurdish DİHA news agency was detained in the eastern province of Van on Monday. Candemir was taken into custody due to his reports on Turkey’s recent offensive in Syria’s Afrin, pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) reported.

On Jan 20, Turkish troops entered Afrin area, which is controlled by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) extension PYD. While most political parties in Turkey welcomed the offensive, police have detained, among others, many journalists for criticizing the operation since then.

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