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Monday, March 15, 2010

Press Snippets: Tarkan Sets A Bad Example?

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Taking a look at some of the reports that were published after the news broke of recording artist Tarkan being detained by Istanbul's police authorities for four days sees the ongoing debate of whether celebrities set good examples for the public - especially the young.

<< Read about Tarkan's four day detainment by Turkish authorities here

With senior authorities on drugs in Turkey coming out with statements urging the young not to copy the bad habits of celebrities, but to only follow the good, Turkish paper Sabah reports a collection of quotes from psychiatrists on the subject of the bad influence of famous people.

While the article cites some as suggesting it is now Tarkan's "public duty" to come out and apologise and decry the use of drugs, they describe the strong influence of famous people like Tarkan on 15-24 year olds, and even those much older, with girls being the ones most open to their influence.

"Tarkan is No Harm to Turkish Morals"

In the columns of paper Sabah, female columnist Ayşe Özyılmazel criticises those who say Tarkan is setting a bad example, in her 4 March dated article, "Do Fame and Drugs Go Hand-in-Hand?"

Giving her opinion that fame and drugs don't go together, and that the pressures of fame can be overcome by other means, to those starting the debate she replies: "Don't sensationalise this! Tarkan isn't making the young want to do drugs. How would any teenager in their right mind want to go through what Tarkan has? Now is the time for Tarkan to be born again, and I'm sure he will bring out his inner light to shine the way for our youth again."

One-time vociferous Tarkan critic Özyılmazel - who in a surprise move came out in support of Tarkan last year, heaps praise on the singer in her column, too.

"Tarkan is a special man! He is a man with gifts. One of those rare products. He might have made a mistake, but I'm sure he'll come to his senses in no time and continue on his way again."

One singer has also come out to criticise the view that celebrities have such a hold over the young, with Sabah citing her as rubbishing the claims.

"If Tarkan is ruining Turkey's morals, then I pity this nation. I have a 19 year old daughter who loves Tarkan, but her morals are in place! What's being a role model got to do with it? Let the psychiatrists look at themselves first! Let them scrutinise what goes on in the so-called high society circles in this country! They're antics are completely shameless, and criticising Tarkan is really unfair."

report of Tarkan's anti-drug concert in 1997Turkish paper Sabah has also published an account that Tarkan had in 1997 had given a free concert for AMATEM (the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Therapy and Research) for no cost except "to save the young from the clutches of drugs".

The article puts a spin of irony on the piece, stating that 13 years after the singer had taken a hard stance against drugs, he was taken in for questioning himself after a anti-drug raid by narcotics force.

The Spin of Turkish Reports

It is well documented that the Turkish press spin their own take on news reports, and fail to leave editorialising to the opinion pieces.

In example, a report by İlker Gezici for Sabah claims that a female singer from the same music label that discovered Tarkan, Istanbul Plak, had effectively been "ignored" by her label because of their focusing on Tarkan's releases at the time.

The headline run, however, makes it sound out as though Tarkan was personally responsible for the music label's dealings, describing it as Tarkan being an obstacle to her career, which was only lifted when he left the label in 2005.

And in Milliyet's reporting of the drug bust, the headline quips: "A parade was the only thing missing" in describing the way Tarkan greeted his supporters after being released from police detention, while the article lists all the rumours and suppositions as fact, suggesting the singer is a user of cocaine.

The article in Milliyet even suggests that Tarkan is a snitch, putting the blame on his friend for the charges made against him.

Screencap of reportElsewhere, in Pressturk, the previously published story about Tarkan's contract being under consideration with the Citrus Promotion Group, in part of their campaign as the face of fresh citrus products exported from Turkey to Russia, has been reported as "bad news" and "a loss of work" (see left pic).

They quote a rep from the citrus group out of context, failing to print that he had also said Tarkan was a rare commodity of singer and was worthy of another chance.

Turkish Diva Stands Behind Tarkan

Meanwhile, the singer has seen support from some of the big players in the Turkish music industry, including friend and singer Kenan Doğulu and Turkish diva Ajda Pekkan.

While Doğulu expressed his sadness and surprise, Sabah quotes Pekkan as saying: "He's a megastar. He'll quickly get over this. Everyone makes mistakes. His fans will support him. It won't affect his career."

Tarkan had last been reported with Pekkan after making a surprise appearance at her summer open air concert at the Harbiye in Istanbul last year, and in reports featuring them alongside each other in a compilation album set out this month.

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