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Monday, December 31, 2007

Tarkan Justified Against Paparazzi Pirates

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

While boarded up at a hotel due to the paparazzi blocking the front entrance to his home on 28 December, Tarkan's official site yesterday posted an interview the artist gave to Turkish newspaper Taraf. Today, another report has spoken up in defence of the harassed singer, with an objective look at the evening's incident. There is genuine feeling from the top-end of journalism that this type of celebrity harassment by their magazine colleagues needs to be checked.

Turkish paper Bugün columnist Bilal Özcan writes in his 31 December article that the media frenzy that erupted outside state broadcaster TRT's studios was not caused by the terrorizing of Tarkan's security team of the paparazzi, but exactly the opposite.

You can watch video footage of the media frenzy aired on Turkish TV stations yesterday evening by clicking here.

Tarkan had been at the studios to record his performance for TRT's end-of-year show to be aired this evening. Tarkan's TV concert is scheduled to be aired on channels TRT1, TRTINT and TRTTÜRK at 23:20 (11.20 pm) this evening (local Turkish time).

Those without satellite TV outside of Turkey can watch the event through TRT's live webcast, by clicking here.

Not Security, but Reporter Terror!
by Bilal Özcan, Bügün Newspaper, 31 December 2007
Translation by Ali Yildirim

On Friday evening Tarkan, together with his girlfriend exit TRT's Tepebaşı studios, and get into his vehicle. He doesn't say a single word to the reporters waiting for him at the door.

At that point, a TV reporter with a microphone in his hand calls out to Tarkan: "Sir, you act like the head of a criminal gang, why?"

And following that he shouts out his second question: "Sir, is the Mafia after you?" Then he directs another question: "Are you afraid of something, sir, why don't you get out of your car?" The security guards are trying to distance the TV people from around Tarkan's vehicle. However, the reporters and cameramen refuse to move and continue to film. As if they are blocking his way in protest for Tarkan getting into his vehicle without speaking to them.

Protested Against With Car Horns

You don't want to know what type of struggle begins between the security men and the reporters. Afterwards Tarkan's vehicle starts to move, and the television people get into their cars and start to follow them.

A huge chase ensues in Istanbul's traffic.

The drivers of the vehicles carrying the reporters and cameramen pass by Tarkan and honk their horns in protest against the singer. What's the reason? The reason is clear:

"Why are you running away from the media?" The traffic stops some place, the same reporter gets out of his vehicle, and nearing Tarkan's vehicle directs the same questions at the singer in rapid succession: "Sir, you are like the head of a criminal gang, why?" "Are you afraid of something, sir, why don't you get out of your car?" "Sir, is the Mafia after you..?" From the screen, I see Tarkan's face inside his vehicle. Confused, angry... The reporter doesn't care, he continues his harassment.

What Tarkan Said

Tarkan is going home but can't go, so he takes himself to TRT's new year invitation at Les Ottomans Hotel in Kuruçeşme. At the invitation, he complains about the paparazzi to the people he speaks.

"We have to clean the magazine community of its vigilantes. We have to raise the quality of magazine journalism," he says.

At the end of the invitation, he doesn't go out so as to avoid the same spectacle again, and spends the night with his girlfriend at the hotel. In other words, because of the magazine people's harassment he is imprisoned at the hotel.

What Kind of Question is That to Ask?

Now let's go back to the beginning and scrutinise the incident. The cameramen and reporters had waited for Tarkan for hours; they're cold, tired, angry... Tarkan finally leaves the studio and smiling at the cameras gets into his vehicle without saying a word.

Whereas the television crowd had waited all those hours in the hope of getting a comment from the artist.

When Tarkan didn't speak one from amongst them gets angry and shouts out those silly questions in fast succession...

So, are these questions to ask? Of course not...

I am a journalist that defends the right for the reporter to ask his subject every sort of question. I have taken as a standard the view that "the subject can reply or not, but the journalist can ask any question he sees fit". However, the reporter's question, while holding the orange microphone in his hand, "Sir, you are like the head of a criminal gang, why?" is one clearly asked to insult. A journalist doesn't ask his subject a question with the intent to insult. A journalist doesn't ask a question to get revenge.

When a journalist carries out his duty, he has to follow reason, not his emotions.

Rude and Ignorant

Just because he didn't speak to waiting reporters, saying to Tarkan, as he passed through his security team to get into his vehicle, "You are like the head of a criminal gang..." is being ignorant, it's rude. No reporter has the right to direct this question at the artist he is interviewing, or to create a tense environment.

No reporter, by insulting an artist in this way, has the right to embarrass the profession of journalism in this way.

He doesn't have this right whether he waits three hours, ten hours or for days. To be truthful, Tarkan is just like Sezen Aksu, who doesn't like to give reports standing, speaking in to microphones. Four times out of five, when television people have waited for Tarkan in this way, he has got into his vehicle without saying a word. Sezen is the same...

They exit the place, without saying a word in to the microphones, get into their vehicle and leave. A reporter in the magazine press should know this very well. It's possible that Tarkan's security team might have bit a bit heavy-handed, a bit rough during the struggle. And for their actions, I criticise them, too.

However, they are not the reason why the situation got out of hand. This isn't the way of journalism.

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