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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tarkan Dreams of Peace

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Tarkan talks to Germany's largest publication Der SpiegelOne of Europe's largest weekly magazines with a circulation of more than one million per week and published in Hamburg, Germany's Der Spiegel (The Mirror) has interviewed Turkey's most famous pop star in his ongoing battle to stop an international dam project threatening the existence of wildlife in a 10,000 year-old region in his home nation.

Headlined as "Stop With This Insanity!", Daniel Steinvorth's interview with Tarkan covers the artist's reasons for spearheading this campaign, and about issues particular to Germans and Turks.

Expressing that he sees himself as a Turk who happened to be born in Germany - although a big fan of Europe - he doesn't see it as a "disaster" if Turkey were not to join the European Union, and that his dreams for his country are of a different nature.

"I wish that my country would be economically strong enough to not have to sacrifice its natural landscape. That we would be more environmentally-friendly, sensible, and peaceful. That in a decade we would have no more discrimination or terrorism."

The Turkish pop artist also states that ultimately ignoring the world's current environmental situation would be like "biting the hand that feeds" it, and people in Germany need to put themselves in the place of his own people.

"My message is: stop with this insanity. Would you destroy a World Heritage site if it were in your country? I don't think so."

Revealing that the star will be flying out to Berlin on Monday to try and persuade the German backers of the dam to pull out of the project, Tarkan explained that he had met with the Turkish cultural minister and written a letter to Turkish President Abdullah Gül, but had yet to get in touch with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"I protested against the dam with my signature ... It is unfair to destroy a place of such unbelievable beauty. We need to find other ways to bring [Turkey's impoverished] southeast [region] on its feet economically. This area is ideal for tourism."

Right-wing publication Der Spiegel also claims that the Turkish Prime Minister described the opponents of the controversial dam project as terrorists, but CNN Turk's report on the interview clarifies this statement as having been taken out of context and misconstrued by the journalist - where Mr Erdoğan had stated that there were other fringe groups hijacking a legitimate cause for their own benefit.

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