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Monday, June 14, 2010

Greek Radio DJ Condemns Tarkan

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

A radio DJ who runs a campaign to push Greek music and culture through his radio slot Michael Show in Turkey, has attacked Turkish megastar Tarkan - known for his attempts to promote Turkish music and culture worldwide - in a recent column published in paper BirGün.

Pursuing the sensationalist line run by the Turkish gutter press covering the news that the European Court of Human Rights had recently decided against Turkey in the seizure of a book about Tarkan on the request of the popular singer, the radio DJ criticises Tarkan as though the singer has somehow dented Turkey's foreign interests.

UPDATE: Tarkan Deluxe correspondent responds to radio DJ's condemnation >>

The Turkish courts had seen fit to ban the distribution of a book which had discussed Tarkan's sexual orientation and used photographs without citing sources, but was based on a scientific study.

The publisher had taken his case to the European courts, where the judges had decided unanimously against Turkey, awarding the publisher 2,000 euros (2,388 dollars) in compensation.

Milliyet's celebrity journalist Ali Eyüboğlu had come out in defence of Tarkan recently, differentiating between the study and the book, believing the latter to be a commercialised product written to "focus entirely on Tarkan's private life and his sexual preferences".

"Book Seizing Tarkan!"

Screencap of reportBefore outlining the court case, the radio DJ - labelling Turkey as a country with the least publications on celebrity and music - described his happiness at the release of such a book in 2001, and his disappointment at its seizure.

Acquainting the banning of an unofficial book on celebrities as though it were book burning, the DJ goes on to write, "I had thought that the years when books were being seized in Turkey had long gone, with so many coups and dictators... What books have been burnt in this country...

"I thought such episodes had been buried along with the 1980s, but I was wrong, and even in the new millennium books were being seized in Turkey.

"This episode is an unfortunate one for Turkey and for Tarkan. Known for being a country where freedom of expression is suppressed, another such case, and were Turkey has been fined too, is a great sadness.

"And to have this happen because of an artist, who is burdened with the responsibility of public service and the development of culture, is a double tragedy. An artist needs to add to the musical development [of their country] whether they be a bar singer or someone given the status of a megastar.

"And as one of the Turkish singers most known in Europe, having him seize books is an unlucky episode for him."

The Greek DJ goes on to suggest that Tarkan could have tried different means other than legal ones to get the parts about the book he disliked, or have applied to the courts to force the editors to change the disputed parts of the book rather than have the book censored completely.

"Whatever anyone says, it doesn't suit an artist to have a book seized. And I definitely think it doesn't suit an artist like Tarkan. I saw him last when he sang his latest song at the Kral TV VMAs. There he had sang his song and then disappeared like a thief in the night. This is his general strategy, and this is what made him a megastar anyway, this strategy of creating an air of mystery.

"In my opinion this episode has dented Tarkan's brand name. With this court case, along with Turkey, Tarkan has become part of that book-seizing, censoring conciousness.

"Will this just stop here? It shouldn't! Tarkan needs to take this subject very seriously and do something to free himself from this "censoring artist" image...

"Otherwise he will go down in Turkish music history as the first and only artist ever to have had books seized and got Turkey punished for it in the European courts, which doesn't suit any artist," the DJ concludes.

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