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TV news anchor fired for appearing on camera with ‘pro-Israel’ Starbucks coffee cup

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An award-winning TV news anchor in Turkey was fired for appearing on camera with a Starbucks cup on her desk — a provocative act in the predominantly Muslim country where the Seattle-based company is considered to be pro-Israel.

Meltem Günay, a 45-year-old veteran newscaster with TGRT Haber, and the director of the program were canned immediately after the Sunday broadcast, according to the Turkish television conglomerate.

The Istanbul-based media company said it “has an understanding that knows the sensitivities of the Turkish people regarding Gaza and defends them to the end.”

“We do not approve of this action of the presenter and director, whose employment contracts were terminated, and we strongly condemn it.”

According to the statement, the anchor and the director of the newscast were “terminated for just cause” after they were found to have “acted contrary to this principle.”

Meltem Günay, a 45-year-old veteran newscaster with TGRT Haber, was fired after her Sunday broadcast. TGRT Haber
Günay had a cup of Starbucks coffee at her anchor desk. Starbucks is considered a pro-Israel company in Turkey. Christopher Sadowski

The Post has sought comment from Starbucks.

Coffee drinkers in Turkey have waged a nationwide boycott of Starbucks in recent weeks due to what pro-Palestinian sympathizers allege is the company’s bias toward Israel.

Social media users have circulated viral videos showing them protesting outside Starbucks locations and demanding that customers shun the coffee giant.

For decades, Turkey, a key NATO member, was allied with Israel when the country was ruled by secularist governments.

But under current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ankara has taken a much more adversarial approach to Israel.

Günay was an award-winning news anchor for Istanbul-based TGRT Haber. TGRT Haber

Erdoğan, who has been president since 2014, has been publicly critical of the Israeli government in the wake of its military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

Erdoğan has referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “the butcher of Gaza.”

He has also denounced Israel as a “terror state” following the deaths of an estimated 20,000 Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled territory.

She was accused of trying to “covertly advertise” for Starbucks, according to TGRT Haber. TGRT Haber

Starbucks, meanwhile, has been on the defensive in the United States after unionized workers posted messages on social media condemning Israel and sympathizing with the Palestinians.

Last week, Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan blamed “misrepresentation on social media of what we stand for” in a letter that appeared to address recent controversies over the coffee chain’s stance on Israel and Hamas.

Narasimhan didn’t explicitly refer to the Israel-Hamas war in a letter on Starbucks’ blog, but the company has been caught up in controversy since the conflict broke out on Oct. 7, leading to talks of boycotts, plummeting stock, and vandalism at some of the chain’s 16,000-plus US locations.

Günay was fired alongside her director for appearing on camera next to a Starbucks coffee cup. TGRT Haber

“Many of our stores have experienced incidents of vandalism. We see protesters influenced by misrepresentation on social media of what we stand for. We have worked with local authorities to ensure our partners and customers are safe,” said Narasimhan, who rose to the chief role in March.

In one of the worst cases, a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle temporarily closed after pro-Palestinian protesters smashed the windows, spray-painted the walls with “Free Gaza” and “Free Palestine,” and wrote “Enter if you support genocide” in chalk on the floor, according to local news site KIRO 7.

Additional reporting by Shannon Thaler

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