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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tarkan Saving the Day

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Tarkan and chairman of the Doga Dernegi Güven Eken in Berlin in May 2009; Fighting the Ilisu Dam in TurkeyAnn-Kathrin Schneider, blogging for International Rivers - an organisation that aims to protect rivers and defend the rights of communities that depend on them - has written about Tarkan and his campaign to stop the flooding of the Tigris River in Turkey.

In her post "Today a Rockstar Saved a Town" (dated 28 May 2009), Schneider focuses on Tarkan's visit to Berlin to push for international support in the protection of a 10,000 historical site - where Tarkan gave a keynote speech to a panel of authorities.

"Tarkan, the biggest Turkish popstar is in town [and] is the talk of town. He is here to convince the German government to withdraw support from the controversial Ilisu Dam, which the Turkish government plans to build on the Tigris River, ... with the help of German, Swiss and Austrian money."

Ann-Kathrin, Tarkan and Eken in Berlin in May 2009 at the Ilisu SummitTaking part with the singer at the summit in Berlin, Schneider writes that the day in Berlin had been all about Tarkan and German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, and that that one of the biggest daily newspapers, The Berliner Zeitung, claimed that Tarkan was to meet with Merkel to convince her to withdraw support for the project.

Although it's not clear whether a meeting ever materialised, Schneider comments that in Germany, "especially in Berlin, Tarkan is THE role model for the large population of Germans with Turkish roots."

Meanwhile, Turkish newspaper Sabah reports that in response to question from the audience during the summit as to whether the singer was prepared to give a concert in Berlin for the cause, Tarkan was quoted as saying that "it would give him great pleasure to do so."

Having given an interview at Berlin's largest radio station Radio Eins about the campaign, and an interview in the country's most influential online magazine Spiegel, spectators now wonder whether Tarkan can convince Germany to safeguard the future of the Tigris River, instead of supporting its destruction with the Ilisu Dam.

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