Turkish daily fires columnist after refusal to appear in pro-government commercial

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Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral (Unsplash)

Sinem Kaymakçı, a Turkish columnist who used to write for the Habertürk newspaper’s online edition, announced that she had been fired and her columns removed from the website after she refused to appear in commercials about the disabled-friendly nature of government-led construction projects.

In a series of tweets on Sunday the columnist, who became disabled after she was injured in a traffic accident, explained the sequence of events.

“The Habertürk management wanted me to appear in productions about how disabled-friendly the newly constructed [İstanbul] airport and the Marmaray are,” Kaymakçı tweeted.

“I told them I did not find it appropriate to take part in such a politically motivated advertisement at a time when the problems of the disabled are at an all-time high,” she went on.

“After that, I was informed that my column had been terminated. When I wanted to check my articles on the website, I was disappointed to see that they had been removed.”

İstanbul Airport’s first phase officially opened in October 2018, taking over air traffic from the former İstanbul Atatürk Airport on April 6.

The airport’s construction drew serious criticism from Turkish opposition parties, which alleged corruption in tenders and sparked protests among laborers who complained about harsh working conditions and a surge in work-related deaths.

Marmaray is a major underwater tunnel linking İstanbul’s European and Asian sides that was opened in December 2016.

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