I Wish I Was As Famous As Tarkan!
And wanting his pound of flesh is one holed up journalist from Turkish paper Akşam, who is counting down to his own trial on charges of possessing and supplying drugs.
According to Turkish celebrity portal Medyatava, while in custody waiting his hearing, Akşam journalist Yiğit Karaahmet has sent another letter where he talks more about the injustice done to him - which he previously called a paradox - by comparing his situation with Turkish singer Tarkan (see left pic).
However, as the publishing source is not a reputable one, doubts have been cast as to the truthfulness of the letter. It's uncertain why a suppression order hasn't also been placed upon Karaahmet like the one in Tarkan's case, if their situations are as similar as Karaahmet claims. Why, too, is he free to pen his thoughts on his legal case while in custody?
UPDATE: Karaahmet is released on bail (April) >>
This is meant to be Turkey, after all. You know, the land of Midnight Express where - according to demonising Hollywood film lore - fat Turkish judges throw you in a barbaric jail and you scream they're sons of pigs. But for Karaahmet, he gets to follow the news on a 37 inch TV screen and his inmates call him "dear".
Seriously, though, it's also another fact that Karaahmet only knows Tarkan's case from what he has followed through the media while in jail. From what Tarkan's lawyer has said, almost 95% of all that has been reported has been complete fabrication - and from a reading of Karaahmet's letter he is going on the assumption Tarkan is guilty, despite assertions from the singer's camp that he is innocent.
Moreover, the tone of the second letter is different than Karaahmet's previous letter where he was more filled with regret for using drugs. In comparison, this one holds overtly camp undertones, and it's not always clear throughout the letter whether it is Karaahmet making fun of himself, or of Tarkan.
But whether the letter is real or a caricature, it is a snapshot of the current situation in Turkey, so it bears reading to understand the mindset of some of the people currently criticising Tarkan.
"Don't Educate Your Kids, Teach Them To Sing Instead"
Headlined "I Wish I Was As Famous As Tarkan!" the letter published in Medyatava yesterday begins with Karaahmet's ironical assertion that he had wanted to be famous all his life.
"Very famous... As famous as Tarkan. If you'd have asked the old me "Who would you want to be as famous as?" I would have said Sibel Can. From a belly dancer to a top solo singer ... But I now understand that in life you have to be as famous as Tarkan. So that's why don't send your kids to school. Let them sing songs and dance instead. Because one day if they get in trouble with the law they're going to need it.
"Tarkan and I were arrested under the same charges. We were held in the same building, but we were treated completely differently. While he was in custody he managed to read the works of Rumi and nibble on toast. I, on the other hand, had to appear before the prosecutor wearing four day old clothes and ripped trousers, because clothes were not allowed from the outside. Let's just put the holes in my trousers aside for one moment.
"While Tarkan and the others were released, I've been in jail for two and a half months. We gave the same statements against the same charges, the same statements were made against us. But there must be some difference between us? I voiced my opinions out loud while I followed Tarkan's case on our 37 inch TV screen in jail. My fellow inmates tried to silence me, "My dear, are you Tarkan? Of course he won't be put in jail," they said. I immediately shut my mouth. I haven't argued over topics I can't win for some time now.
"Please don't get me wrong, my problem isn't "why have I been arrested. Why is Tarkan free? He should be arrested, too." Of course Tarkan shouldn't have been arrested. So, is it wrong if I ask why I am here? Or is it really a case that in this country everyone is equal, but that some are more equal than others? Justice is for everyone, but if you can shake your belly well you get more justice?
"This is what concerns me."
Counting the Seconds
After Karaahmet has done his bit of Tarkan bashing, he goes on to reveal that he had really wanted to write this letter to paper Sabah correspondent Hıncal Uluç - who has been publicly critical of cocaine use amongst public figure for some time.
Seemingly forgetting that, notwithstanding his harsh stance against drug use, Uluç had criticised his peers for the "irresistible pleasure of knocking down Tarkan", Karaahmet says he had been moved by Uluç's recent article - but he didn't have the guts to send his letter to the senior correspondent.
The real irony is however, had Karaahmet not given into the Turkish press propaganda - what else can we call it? - on Tarkan, and left the recording artist out of his rant, Karaahmet's sincere regret over his drug addiction and the re-evaluation of his life while in custody would have made for good reading as an example of someone who has been made an example of, and is ready to rehabilitate his life.
But then such a letter would have fallen under the radar in the Turkish press, and without Tarkan's name, the meaningful letter would have become meaningless in terms of newsworthiness. We wouldn't be discussing it here, either.
And there is the real, bigger paradox of this piece.
And - whether the source really is Karaahmet or not - when the letter returns to focus on its own situation, it signs off in a way that is both moving, humbling and oddly funny in a camp sort of way.
"For those interested my hearing is coming up soon ... I'm counting the seconds ... Somewhere inside me there is the smallest of hopes that I might get out, you know? But as soon I get the feeling, I try to crush it.
"That's how it is here, you always got to prepare yourself for the worst. There's no room for goodwill. But however hard I try, I just can't kill the hope inside me. I feel like those [impoverished] girls studying on a Kardelen scholarship. Never giving up, always fighting.
"So, wait for me my little kittens. We might see each other soon, if the scales of justice are truly equal..." Karaahmet says.
Although he might have wanted to add a slice of truth to the scales, too, and the hope the court gives him the benefit of a doubt, something he hasn't managed - and neither has anyone else in the press it seems - to afford to Tarkan himself.