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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Even More Tarkan Word Play in the Press

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

The Turkish press is filled with accounts that use his name to raise the profile of their reports. Here Tarkan Deluxe takes a look at some of those news stories to give a wider range of the media coverage Tarkan gets in the variety papers in the home papers and online.

First up is the prime example of an article in the culture pages of Turkish paper Hürriyet, which starts off a report on "a controversy" by describing it as one that would cause shock waves in the celebrity media like Tarkan's "pee gaffe" on live TV.

Continuing on the subject of TV, Tarkan critic Bilal Özcan writing for paper Bugün has wondered why Tarkan wasn't at the opening of public broadcaster TRT's new music channel in a recent column, putting Tarkan's name at the top of a long list of non-attending celebrities.

A Caricature of Tarkan's Celebrity

In other news, while financial correspondent for Milliyet Fatoş Karahasan drops Tarkan's name in her 16 November 2009 dated article about Turkish celebrities and their million dollar ad campaigns - but fails to talk about any of his numerous campaigns in detail - another Milliyet piece, this time in a Saturday column this month, mentions Tarkan in regard to Turkish satirical artist, Kaan Sezgin.

The article talks about Sezgin's first exhibition, where he has morphed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan into various digitally enhanced contemporary pop images, which includes a Tarkan-like pose.

Meantime, a third Milliyet article in its variety section Cadde written by commentator Çağdaş Ertuna touches upon a celebrity charity event in support of young artists run by the Association for Modern Education (ÇEV), with Turkish diva Sezen Aksu (who did attend TRT's new music channel gala).

Ertuna reminds readers in the article that in a similar ÇEV organisation, a photograph exhibition to celebrate the association's 15th birthday and to inspire the young had taken place earlier this year, in which Tarkan had taken part.

And in a gossip piece about Aksu's son and the new woman in his life, paper Akşam doesn't fail to mention the rumours that Aksu's son is collaborating with Tarkan on a new album, meaning Mithatcan Özer now joins the growing group of people who get Tarkan's name dropped into articles about them.

Counted amongst these is Turkish actress Zeynep Beşerler - who starred in Tarkan's video single to "Dudu" (Dudu/2003) - where Tarkan's name cropped up in a recent interview with her, while female singer Sibel Can, known as a close friend to the star, is always asked about Tarkan.

In a November article uploaded by a Turkish celebrity gossip portal, when asked about the controversy over Tarkan's Mohican look, Can was quoted as defending her friend by saying, "Tarkan is beautiful, anything suits him."

Furthermore, being constantly linked to Tarkan's name isn't a simply a phenomenon in the Turkish press.

As singer Holly Valance will always be known across Europe as the girl that sang the English cover version to Tarkan's "Şımarık" (a.k.a "Kiss Kiss"/Ölürüm Sana/1997), in Germany when speaking about oriental music, Tarkan's name invariably gets a mention as a prime example of its kind.

German portal Tini24.de in an article about a dance show from the "Orient to the Occident" proclaims a spectacular show "ranging from Robbie Williams to Tarkan".

The Collateral in Tarkan's Name

Screencap of reportMoving on, rising music producer, DJ Burak Yeter is being followed in the press with his recent line-up of shows - touted as having worked with a huge host of Turkish stars that include Tarkan at the top of the list (see left pic).

Taken from the official blurb at Yeter's site that the producer has worked with Turkey's most famous recording artist, it seems that the producer is happy to use Tarkan's name even though there has been no official release of any collaboration together at time of writing.

Yeter had released to the internet an unofficial remix of Tarkan's 1999 European dance hit "Bu Gece" in 2007.

Additionally, in respect of a group of artists that haven't worked with Tarkan - and even refused to open for him at the star's 2008 Wembley concert in London - MTV EMA award-winners maNga talked about Tarkan "being known in Europe" in a recent interview following their win, published by Hürriyet's celebrity supplement Kelebek.

One band member was quoted as saying, "After all if a pop act like Tarkan can get himself known in Europe, what's so surprising about a Turkish rock act doing the same?"

Meanwhile, Hürriyet correspondent Gila Benmayor touches upon the news in a recent column that rather than the concept of an alliance of civilisations, it is the influence of popular culture which affects the perception of Turks in Europe.

"Through a window of culture, at one end of the perspective you have popular things like Tarkan, on the other you have religion," she writes.

And finally on the subject of the popular culture and the pitfalls of the celebrity press, an actor for thirty-five years, Halil Ergün talks Tarkan in an interview published by paper Takvim.

Complaining about the way the Turkish press take the most sensational sounding answer out of context to headline reports - ironically as happened in the Takvim report, too - Ergün said that his opinion of "wanting to be on the same wavelength as the young" was misconstrued to mean that he fell in love with pop songs.

"I love Tarkan for example. Should this be fodder for magazine reports? It's important that so many young people are singing. They are continuing an artistic tradition. Even if most of it is trash it doesn't matter, time will pick out the ones with quality to make them last," he said.

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