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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tarkan Interview in Red Square [1]

By İlke Gürman reporting from Istanbul, Turkey, courtesy of Takvim newspaper

Ilke Gurman and Tarkan in MoscowReporting for Turkish newspaper Takvim, İlke Gürman caught up with Tarkan in Moscow recently, where the pop star was appearing on stage.

Mega tracks mega words

In Russia for a concert, Tarkan opened the unknown pages of his childhood to İlke Gürman: My dad hit us sometimes. I nearly died in my mum's tummy. We had a difficult childhood.

We met Tarkan in Russia for his concert. As always he was smiling, down to earth and modest. The megastar; he explained things we've wondered about him, from his birth to his father, and even to his future child.

Tarkan and Russian fansAs we speak there is a large crowd of Russian fans behind us. The Russian media is tracking you too.
Yes...with cameras.

There are reporters from a German magazine, they're doing a documentary about you, is that right?
Yes they're from Germany. It is a youth magazine. We did interviews over there, now they wanted to do one in Russia, I said "Come".

Only Russians should thank you. Because with this concert you are promoting Russia.
Really, so I promote Turkey too, but is there anyone that appreciates it? There is, there is... Because if I say that I'll upset people. Because there are those that do appreciate it and those that don't.

You are attending quite a few festivals in Turkey this year.
Yes. One at Karadeniz Ereğli.

There's the Rize (pronounced Ree-ze) one too, your own paternal home.
Yes, Rize...I'm returning to my home. They scold me by saying "Tarkan's forgotten us", but that's not true. I belong there.

OK so will you sing Black Sea regional folksongs?
There's nothing like that.

Do you know the horon (a regional folk dance)?
In the years I was just getting my name heard, I went to Rize to visit my dad's grave. Then we climbed to a moutain pasture and danced the horon.

Would you like your father to see where you are now?
Yes a lot. He only saw the very beginning. There was a concert at the Açıkhava (Open Air Theatre in Istanbul); he watched that. He was a very proud, honourable man. He went and watched from way back. No one saw him. He didn't like to be the centre of attention. Then he upped and left the world. Maybe he does see.

He'll see you at the concert in Rize.
I feel strange there. Is it possible that's why I never went back again? I felt very strange, I don't know how to explain it. While on stage I felt his presence. As though I heard something in the mountains, though maybe I just imagined it I don't know. Strange... I have gone to Rize, I mean haven't gone for a concert. Apart from that I've gone to Rize a lot. We've gone off track haven't we?

Would you have liked the days spent with your father to be different?
I'd want them to be different. For starters he died very early. He was 49, he died very young. Life was just going to begin again for him. He worked all those years, in Germany the whole family worked hard. Just as he was about to take it easy, it didn't happen. Plus he was ill. He went. Without warning, leaving us all alone. And he died alone, that saddens me a lot. We were in Istanbul; "I'm going," he said. "Where?" I asked. "To my village," he said. We thought he was joking. "Bury me next to my mother," he added. He died a month later*.

Wasn't he warm towards you?
We lived through difficult times in our childhood. A family away from home in Germany, 6 children, they struggled a lot. Struggled to survive. But there was a lot of upset, a lot of fights.

Maybe he acted like that so you wouldn't be "spoilt much"?
How should I know? He was an emotional man, but he didn't show it. I can't know, funny. If he were here today, I'd ask him all this, but I can't ask. That's why for a while afterwards I was mad at him, after he was gone. For years I was angry at my dad. My anger is just starting to die down. The things you're making me say İlke... If it wasn't for you I wouldn't explain these things to anyone, I mean from the media.

Miracle birth

Tarkan and his motherYour birth was a miracle?
Yes so they tell me, when my mother was about 2-3 months pregnant she had a car accident, it somersaulted quite a bit. My mother was in the back seat and flew through the front window. She had a metal plate in her head anyway. She was in a coma, I'm in her tummy and we are fighting for life together. I'm holding on tightly to life. She, too. But strange, all the doctors in the hospital signed a petition, trying to persuade my mum that "this child should be aborted". And that night my mum has a dream in hospital, my dad sees the same dream. That's how they explained it to me, and they told them "don't touch the child".

Fatherly Discipline

Tarkan as a childDid you father ever hit you?
He had problems with my mum. Yes, my dad hit us sometimes. But he was a real man. Very honest, there's a lot about him that I follow in my own life. He was genuine, but he didn't put his feelings into words. That's why it seemed like we begged for love. Just a kiss, a hug, to make us feel it, but he wasn't cold. We'd wake up some mornings, he'd make mıhlama (a dish of pastrami, onions and eggs), fix us breakfast. He'd do things like that too.

* Ali Tevetoğlu, Tarkan's father died in 1995 at his village Rüzgarlı Köy (Windy Village). Tarkan mentions his father's village in a 1996 magazine tête-à-tête. Also click here to read more about Tarkan's childhood in a 2001 magazine interview.

Pictures courtesy of Takvim.

Part one | Part two | Part three | Main

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