Tarkan Mourns for Childhood Idol
Initial news stories from the Turkish press report that Tarkan's headline gig at the 16th International Love, Peace and Friendship Festival's final night on 5 July saw the star in full form giving his usual energetic live performance, with the artist once again taking the opportunity to pay a tribute to "King of Pop" Michael Jackson.
Hot on the heels of a gig on Saturday night in Çeşme, the Ereğli show on Sunday, labelled as the biggest festival in Turkey, saw hundreds of thousands of people gather to watch Tarkan perform live, as the star of Turkish pop spoke about the sudden loss of Jackson, who died last month.
Reports write that some way through his performance - this time sporting a white T-shirt with an image of Jackson - Tarkan again dedicated his song "Unutmamali" (A-acayipsin, 1994) to the iconic eighties star.
Watch Tarkan's tribute to Michael Jackson at the 16th Ereğli Fest, 5 July 2009
(Courtesy of Haberturk and TGRThaber)
Of Jackson, Tarkan said, "I want to dedicate my songs to my childhood idol Michael Jackson. We grew up with Michael Jackson's songs. In my opinion he is the world's greatest pop star ever. I was really upset when I heard he'd died. I want us all to remember him tonight."
Tarkan's Black Sea Show
Opening his performance with classic hit "Kuzu Kuzu" (Karma, 2001), Tarkan changed costume four times and sang to a huge audience, with some reports printing that people climbed trees to get a better view of the artist. Those not able to attend the show, were able to watch it via live feed on the local council's official website.
Mayor of Ereğli, Halil Posbıyık, came on stage at the end of Tarkan's performance to present the artist with photographs of his previous two appearances at the festival, and called him the region's Jackson.
"By bringing Tarkan here I think I've done my duty. People are saying there are not 100,000 people in Ereğli. There are people here [for the festival] from Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia ... They're saying 'There can't be that many people.' Let them come and see for themselves. My people have done a head count, and right at this moment 750,000 people are watching this show," he said.
Entering and departing the stage via an elevator, Tarkan had mesmerized the audience with stage and light effects as well as his voice, and when called out for an encore, the artist sang two more songs, after which the festival ended with the customary fireworks finale.