Afrin residents’ comments “lost in translation” on Turkish TV

People from the region of Afrin in Syria who talked to a Turkish pro-government TV channel had their complaints about Turkey-allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) “interpreted” into ones about the majority Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), alternative news site Bianet said.

The people’s complaints about the looting of their town by the FSA was related to Turkish viewers on Habertürk as “the YPG looted it” by an interpreter wearing a vest from the Turkish government Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), which has taken a major role in reconstruction efforts.

Social media users noticed how different the Turkish was from the original Kurdish though and shared a video of the footage with their comments.

At 34:10 on the programme, the interpreter translated complaints about the FSA stealing as “the YPG did it”.

Bianet provided a transcript of some excerpts from the programme:

Presenter: We would like to ask you to compare the before and after, that is two weeks ago with when the state of the Turkish Republic secured (Afrin), for those people living in Afrin. How was it and what happened?

Kurdish response: We do not want armed forces that do not belong here. The Free Syrian Army is not a free army. They are thieves. They are terrorists. They took our property and our women … Last night they defiled three of our girls. They were 15…

Interpreter’s translation: We do not want people who are not from Afrin sheltered in Afrin. The YPG were not a group that belonged here, they came afterwards. They looted our property and our goods. They wanted to defile our honour and we do not want them here. They are not the true owners of this place.


Kurdish response: We want the Turkish army to come here. The armed people should go. We love the Turks. We want the Turks to come. They (could) come every day… (But the Free Syrian Army) burnt down our houses. They took our cars. They took our property. They did not leave a single thing behind them. Only these (gestures to clothes) remain. Our property, nothing of ours…

Interpreter’s translation: We want Turkey to be here, we love Turkey. We want Turkey to come and them to go away. Because they, when the YPG came here they looted our property and our things, they burnt down our houses. That is why we want Turkey to stay here and them to go away.


Kurdish response: We want the Turkish army, its soldiers, its forces to come here. We want them here… The Turks help us here. The Free Syrian Army has destroyed our homes. They have not left us our big livestock. They have not left us our small livestock. They have not left a single one of our goats.

Interpreter’s translation: We see that Turkey has carried out much humanitarian aid for us here. That is why we want Turkey to be permanently here. We saw what happened before. Before Turkey came here they took our property, our things, our animals, our shelter, and our girls. That is why we care that Turkey is here.