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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tarkan's Fall From Grace?

By Kaya Turan reporting from Rochester, UK

A day before police in Istanbul detained Turkish recording artist Tarkan on 26 February for allegedly using illegal drugs in an citywide operation, Tarkan Deluxe had received an email from a Turkish journalist telling us about the upcoming coup.

"We had heard so many rumours about Tarkan throughout the years," the correspondent wrote to us, "but this was one thing we had never dreamed about. It totally blew us away."

As the police forces gathered, so did we as a team to discuss how best to report what would be - we knew - to some fans a breach of trust, because if Tarkan stood for anything, it was being honest with his fans.

We at Tarkan Deluxe took the editorial decision to do something different than what we knew others would do. We decided to sit back and watch the shit hit the fan, because we couldn't believe that Tarkan was someone that would use drugs.

"[In the Turkish press] we expected a horde of gay lovers to come tumbling out of the closet, but not this. It was something that no one could have guessed," the correspondent explained, days before the mail was to be proven dramatically correct - at least in respect to the drug raid.

And it seems that the decision taken by Tarkan Deluxe to wait out the news has been in some way confirmed by recent statements released by the singer's lawyer, with claims that Tarkan is unconnected with drugs - or at least with cocaine.

Had the singer's domestic media finally got their wish, or did this sting operation have a sting in its tale for the journalists, too?

Whatever the truth of the matter is finally revealed to be, with the aftershocks of this likely to grow, it will become a landmark in a singer's career who has been constantly harassed by the Turkish press.

As is usual with such things, it all happened quickly. It is the aftershocks that have grown to seismic proportions in Turkey.

Tarkan Arrested in Drug Bust

Screencap of reports

All last week, this was what had been reported by the press:

Tarkan and nine (or ten according to some reports) other famous personalities were detained last Friday night after a raid by narcotics officers, and appeared in court for sentencing on charges of narcotics use and alleged links to two drug dealers on Monday.

The arrests occurred last week, when Tarkan's house was raided by narcotics officers who had been conducting a six-month long investigation into his possible ties to drug dealers.

Turkish pop singer Tarkan waves cheering supporters after his release outside a courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, March 1, 2010. Turkish police detained Tarkan, the country's best-known pop star, in a narcotics raid Friday in Istanbul along with nine other people. Tarkan, who only uses one name, and others were detained for their alleged links with two drug dealers being monitored by narcotics agents, the state-run Anatolia news agency said. Police reportedly found and seized a small amount of hashish at the pop star's country home in the Omerli district near Istanbul, the agency said.(AP Photo )
Turkish pop singer Tarkan waves cheering supporters after his release outside a courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, March 1, 2010. (AP Photo)
In details that have been reported hundreds of times over, it is said Tarkan turned over 12.5 grams of cannabis to the police, who consequently arrested a number of prominent young Turks, including sons of the former president of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, two newspaper reporters, a bar owner, and two drug dealers.

During the singer's 45-minute testimony in court, Tarkan reportedly admitted to using drugs but denied accusations that he supplied drugs to others.

"I apologise to my fans the most. I hope no one will begin using narcotics because of my bad example," reports cite Tarkan as stating at the time.

After Tarkan was charged by prosecutors, the recording artist met a huge crowd of fans rallying together in support, where he thanked them, saying he realised "just how much I am loved."

video
Tarkan on his release from his four day police detainment declines to comment apart from saying his lawyers would release a statement and that he couldn't have survived without the love of his fans (IHA)

So far details on the severity of the pop singer's charges, as well as the defence, are sparse. Tarkan's attorney Yunus Egemenoğlu said only that "the truth will be revealed at the end of the trial."

The disgraced star was released late Monday after his testimony along with seven of the suspects, while the other two were arrested by the court.

However, Egemenoğlu has spoken to the media to put a whole new spin on a story that has become as convoluted as any episode in the highs and lows of Turkey's most popular singer.

Tarkan, he says, is completely innocent of all charges.

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