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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tarkan Word Play in the Turkish Press

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Trawling through the daily Turkish news reports to bring Tarkan fans outside of Turkey a snapshot of the coverage on the Turkish recording artist, Tarkan Deluxe presents a summary of recent stories in the domestic press.

Using Tarkan's Name

A variety of news reports use Tarkan's name for the sole purpose of getting attention or to use as a prime example - take for instance Zeynel Lüle's article for the EU-Turkey news network AB HAber, where she comments about the MEPs in the European Parliament increasingly coming from the celebrity sector.

"Can you imagine if Tarkan were to sit in the seats of the Turkish Parliament? The paparazzi cameras that stalk [the streets of Istanbul] probably wouldn't move from the public stalls of the Parliament buildings," she writes.

Meanwhile, in the pages of Turkish paper Sabah there is a write-up about Turkish cultural diplomacy breaking down European prejudices against Turks with musical events that had kick-started with Tarkan.

The singer had taken part in Şimdi/Now in 2004, Germany's largest ever festival of Turkish culture hosted in Berlin and featuring over 50 events ranging from classical music to video installations and experimental club sounds.

Although without Tarkan in the following years, the event has spread to Holland, France and Austria and is set to follow up with festivities in Sweden and Finland.

Making Do Without Tarkan

And in the absence of Tarkan, while one account deals with a local film festival and its claim to fame of having a one-time Tarkan female vocalist attend the annual event this year, another writes of an evening talk show's failure to get Tarkan to appear in front of their cameras.

One of Turkey's most popular current talk shows on TV, Beyaz Show - hosted by comedian Beyazıt Öztürk, popularly known as Beyaz - has run a long campaign to get Tarkan on his talk show. The article posts that having failed to persuade the artist to appear on his show, Beyaz has had to make do with newcomer Emir - hailed as Tarkan's protégé - instead.

Appearing alongside female pop singer Demet Akalın - a self-confessed Tarkan fan known for her acerbic wit - Emir seemed relaxed as he spoke about Tarkan for the umpteenth time on yet another talk show in the promotion of his début album.

Making a few gaffes on sexuality and not having a girlfriend - but "that the desire for one was growing slowly" - the 23 October evening show ran along the conventional lines of an Emir interview, with a major part based on Tarkan.

At one point talk show host Beyaz joked with Emir that he would send the singer to sit amongst the audience if Tarkan did not ring up to speak on the show, but neither event happened.

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And alongside his TV appearance, in another October interview for a radio station, Emir spoke once more about his famous boss - as the last in a long list of singing celebrities which contributed to his album.

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"Lack of Respect for Real Artists in Turkey"

In other reports, Milliyet writes that theatre actor Yalçın Özden has staged his own personal protest at the lack of government funding for the arts is Turkey by going "cap in hand" and performing publicly in the heart of Istanbul.

The actor used Tarkan as an example of the lack of interest in the arts. He is quoted as saying, "In Turkey it is only people like Tarkan that go through the VIP section in airports. But I get that treatment in places even like Bulgaria."

On Talking Tarkan

And finally, two other celebrities have mentioned Tarkan in their own interviews, while Milliyet blogger Gül Alkan mentions Tarkan in a post about patriotism.

In her post, where she describes patriotism as signifying a love for the country you're from alongside your racial identity, she uses Tarkan as a prime example of a Turkish patriot for investing the money he earns abroad in his parents' homeland.

Less complimentary are the reports from actor and talk show host Okan Bayülgen - who in an interview with Vatan used Tarkan as an example of stagnation by describing him as an artist that still makes music for teenagers - and a singer, dancer, songwriter celebrity who has found it hard to make a name for himself in Turkey.

Blaming the sleezy celebrity sector for not appreciating his talent in the Sabah interview, the unsuccessful artist has a lot of advice to give to those celebrities that have managed to capture the hearts of the Turkish public.

Although he describes Tarkan as a true star due to his longevity in the business, he says that Tarkan dances well, but needs to find some new moves.

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