TRT Kurdî is the first national television station that broadcasts in Kurdish. It broadcasts in both Kurmanji and Zazaki. On the channels sixth anniversary it changed its name from TRT 6 into TRT Kurdi. The channel has been mostly met with criticism from the Kurdish population in Turkey on various grounds, including accusations of being a mouthpiece for the government. A 2018 survey asking Kurds about TRT Kurdî showed that a majority (59%) did not trust the channel.
The ban on the Kurdish language in Turkey was lifted in 2001 and legal barriers to broadcast in the language were removed the following year. In 2004, new regulations were passed, following which TRT was allowed to broadcast 30 minutes in Kurdish. Turkish Radio and Television Corporation subsequently broadcast programs in Kurdish with limited duration. These limitations were later removed and TRT 6 was launched in 2009, which researcher Mesut Yeğen argues was the result of an understanding that Turkey had failed at assimilating its Kurdish minority. Both the Nationalist Movement Party and Republican People's Party were against this initiative and anti-Kurdish sentiment rose among Turkish nationalists.
In addition, an informal cause of the channel was to reduce the influence of Roj TV, which was regarded as PKK's main broadcast channel. Unlike Roj TV and other diasporic Kurdish channels, the objective of TRT Kurdî was not to serve Kurdish political nor cultural empowerment.