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Monday, July 12, 2004

Black Sea Sees Tarkan Storm

Tarkan at EregliTarkan closed the 11th Karadeniz Eereğli International Love, Peace and Friendship Festival yesterday with a fantastic show.

Spanning three days and headed by Mayor Halil Posbıyık (pictured with Tarkan below), the Ereğli Festival is one of the largest public festivals of its kind in the Black Sea region.

It was the first time Tarkan had appeared at a festival where admission was free, silencing his critics in the Turkish press who had stated he only gave concerts for money.

People from all four corners of Turkey came to see the pop star perform in Ereğli, at his first public event of this kind. Those that couldn't find a space on packed streets or where lucky enough to have houses by the specially constructed arena, filled the nearby buildings, where Tarkan gave them a spectacular live show from the comfort of their own living rooms. Thousands watched the show on boats and yachts from the sea.

Appearing on the purposefully built stage at Ereğli beach, which is a main tourist attraction, Tarkan didn't hide his amazement when he viewed the 700,000* strong crowd. "I've never seen such a sight before," he said. "I'll never forget this picture as long as I live."

Tarkan with mayorSpeaking at the festival, Mayor Posbiyik revealed that they had been working hard to get Tarkan to come to Ereğli for four years. "We tried everything to get Tarkan to come, even asking various politicians to invite him. However, this year Tarkan wanted to come to Ereğli himself, and here he is, Turkey's biggest star."

Posbıyık also gave Tarkan a gift of Ottoman strawberry jam, made by a recipe hundreds of years old.

Thanking Mayor Posbıyık for the warm reception, Tarkan said, "The last time I saw such a crowd was when I gave a concert to 90,000 people in Ankara last year. I'll never forget today."

*This figure was quoted by local authority sources, who counted heads for a record breaking event, however CNN Turk gave the number as 250,000 in its report.

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