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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Chocolate, Sex and Tarkan

Editorial by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK

In England politicians are examining whether methods being used in big business to tackle pollution and climate change could also be used to confront other social ills. The aim is to give incentives to move away from doing what's bad for society and do more of what's good and to rely less on government regulation.

A female colleague of mine, recently back from a Club Med trip to the Turkish Aegean, jokingly declared that the medicine for all social ills was "chocolate, sex and Tarkan".

Eva MagazinePossibly an incoherent alternative, but for many of us in the know Tarkan had been a glowing mascot for Turkey, blinding us to the country's own social ills. Yet, most Istanbul reporters and journalists in their newspaper columns - and even a gay rights movement - continue to "award" Tarkan with booby prizes for his "English album flop" and for his "comments" in Bulgarian magazine Eva, made in March about homosexuality being a "curable mental disorder".

Such comments remind me of the Gwyneth Paltrow fiasco where the Hollywood actress had to come out and deny claims she made anti-US remarks last year.

The Oscar award-winning star had enraged her fellow Americans over stories which quoted her telling Portuguese newspaper Diario De Noticias: "The British are much more intelligent and civilised than the Americans."

She blamed the mistake on a press conference she gave in Spanish. "I felt so upset to be completely misconstrued and I never, ever would have said that," Paltrow told People magazine.

"I definitely did not say that I think the British are more intelligent and civilised than Americans. I said that Europe is a much older culture and there's a difference," she told People. "Obviously I need to go back to seventh-grade Spanish!"

Tarkan talks to press: "The photos are mine. I've done nothing to be ashamed of. It's my life." (2001)
Whether Tarkan needs to go back to school and rethink his own foreign language excursion is not so much the issue, as the fact that he never publicly put the record straight about the Eva interview.

Worse still, he tried to muzzle the press, and possibly for the first time in his career added his signature to a "social ill" he had been so careful to avoid before - the mistreatment (or the misunderstanding) of minorities. Plus, on the issue of his rumoured homosexuality in 2001 - after the stolen photographs scandal - the domestic press had seen a very different Tarkan, forthright, open and in control.

Tarkan confirms he isn't gay in a rare 2001 TV interview,
but without condemning homosexuality.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Although it depends on your point of view, the majority view is that Tarkan didn't manage to successfully fire people's imaginations in 2006 with his English songs. Many music critics believe that Tarkan took a huge risk with his English language venture, and that he has just one chance to restore what is now widely being regarded as a career shot down in flames.

It seems only a Turkish album can save Tarkan, and if it doesn't impress his domestic market - and his usual sexualisation of products fails to boost sales - then it could signal that too much of a good thing, like chocolate and sex, may not be so great after all.

A Turkish album failure on the back of his English language album may indicate that Turkish pop fans have finally fallen out of love with its first international pop star.

Picture courtesy of Eva Magazine.

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
Read more Mark Mayhey articles on Tarkan >>

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