Turkish Anchorwoman Admits Gov’t Sway Over Picking Guests on TV

Sirin Payzin, a former anchorwoman at CNN Turk, confesses that the selection of guest contributors was recently shaped by the government. But her confession is too late, too little.

Abdullah Ayasun
5 min readDec 16, 2020
Sirin Payzin confessed that guest lists for her programs were imposed by the government.

A famous journalist offered a scathing account of the mounting political pressure on Turkish media from a personal angle. “The blacklisted figures was relayed by our Ankara bureau chief,” Sirin Payzin, a former anchorwoman and moderator in CNN Turk, recently revealed in an acknowledgment of the government’s extended sway over the editorial policies of the channel over the past decade. Payzin noted that politicians from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) were banished from programs at the behest of the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) Party. She confessed that the selection of guest contributors had increasingly been imposed by the government since 2015.

Her recent revelations might be designed to arouse public sympathy for her hardships endured during her long spell at CNN’s Turkish offshoot. Instead, it did the opposite as many poured their unconcealed disdain over her willing condoning to such editorial intervention by the political authorities. Commentators, who reflected their views on Twitter, reminded her that she stayed at CNN Turk until her unceremonious leave in 2018.

“They told me, withdraw your signature otherwise we would try you. Then they said, we would fire. I did not withdraw [my signature], I got fired. Like her I suppose? But I could not beautifully pose like this. Never. Probably, I’m not photogenic,” said Sinan Birdal, a research fellow at the University of Berlin.

He was one of the academics who signed a peace memorandum in early 2016 when the Turkish security forces embarked on an urban campaign to uproot the outlawed PKK militants from the Kurdish cities in eastern Turkey. The…



Abdullah Ayasun

New York-based journalist and writer. Columbia School of Journalism. 2023 White House Correspondents' Association Scholar. Twitter: @abyasun