Istanbul Marks Its Culture With Tarkan
The Turkish papers write that 2010 European capital of culture Istanbul celebrated its title with magnificent ceremonies in seven districts of the city, including in Taksim with popular Turkish recording artist Tarkan.
Istanbul's Magic Ignites
Residents of Istanbul poured into celebration venues despite the cold weather.
The celebrations began with an official ceremony at the Golden Horn Congress Center. High-level guests from 40 countries attended the ceremonies, with a visual show watched by the Turkish president and prime minister and their spouses, after they pressed the button together and gave start to the fireworks show called "Istanbul Magic", paper Zaman writes.
Tarkan at the Hub of Istanbul's Entertainment
Elsewhere, media portal Haberturk reports that despite the cold weather, hundreds of of thousands of people watched concerts across the city, including one by Tarkan in Taksim, the entertainment hub of Istanbul.
The article writes that under tight security control and with traffic cordoned off, people were allowed into the concert area by seven in the evening. As the fireworks continued, Tarkan appeared at around quarter past nine to raise the tempo of the thousands gathered - who danced together for an hour to Tarkan's songs.
Meanwhile, Asu Maro, writing for Milliyet, in her article "The Whole of Taksim was Dancing" claims that the crowd was surprisingly well-behaved and that even the security checks were done in a professional and polite manner.
"Possibly the effect of being labelled Europe's culture capital for the year I thought ... and little could those shivering [because of the cold weather] who had come in good time to see Tarkan guess the magic that would soon envelope us all.
"Wearing a jacket with Istanbul sewn on it, Tarkan came on stage to say that he "was proud to represent the city he loved so much in its heart of Taksim" and called out to the crowd to join their energies together and let loose for the evening. The whole of Taksim was dancing Saturday night," Maro writes.
Perspectives from the Show
Giving his own perspective of the evening, Milliyet blogger, 50-year-old Mehmet Önkibar raves about Tarkan's Taksim show.
"Despite the rain, Tarkan proved once more that he is a world class artist. Tarkan's show beat all the rest... There's no other artist that fills the stage in this way, or sings each song as though he is living it. Tarkan is like those world leaders and thinkers that come along once every generation...
"Tarkan must return to Turkey. Turkey has missed him. And Tarkan says that he misses Turkey all the time. Mega star Tarkan must connect with his fans more. I hope he doesn't make them wait so long," he writes.
Another Milliyet blogger, and Tarkan fan for sixteen years, provides yet more insight to what the press accounts call a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Özge Dinç's post is one that every Tarkan fan will be able to relate to, as she talks of her admiration and adulation of a Turkish singer that captured her heart from the first, but also talks of her refusing any chances to meet him so that she can "love him even more".
"Taking my place up front, I chat with the other fans. Next to me is Tarkan's organiser, behind me is Tarkan's first manager, the man who discovered him, Alpay Aydın ... [Tarkan's organiser] told me it was his dream to work with Tarkan, and that it had come true, and that he saw Tarkan everyday but seeing him here was something else. Seeing Tarkan everyday, but still coming here to shout "Tarkan" is what being a fan is all about."
Wondering what Tarkan's first estranged manager must be thinking while watching the man he discovered as a boy on stage - and feeling sorry for him - Dinç writes that she feels she knows why Tarkan puts up with so much trouble from the media.
"As we scream his name, he closes his eyes with a smile, and his fans make him fly. I think that's why he puts up with so much, just for this sound," she declares.
Carrying Tarkan's show on it's front page, paper Cumhuriyet's portal published pictures (above) while NTVMSNBC provided pictures and video of the evening (below)
And as Zaman reports that Tarkan "raised Taksim into the air" with his show, SkyTurk Online - describing Istanbul as glittering that evening - claims that "without a doubt" Tarkan show was the largest of the seven celebrations.
Taksim Istanbul's Largest Show
Left-wing portal Sol writes that the show in Taksim was the biggest, too, resembling the annual New Year celebrations, along with the problems such a large crowd brings - although some reports say that the crowd control was carried out without a hitch.
The inauguration has not been without it's critics, however, with Hürriyet reporter Yılmaz Özdil mocking the importance placed on the title of European capital, suggesting that a big deal was made over nothing - and reminding his readers that there were more political issues to think about.
"Where's the culture in belly dancing with Tarkan?" he asks.