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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tarkan Loses Book Dispute

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Tarkan Loses Book Dispute, Turkey Penalised

Cover of 2001 disputed Tarkan bookThe European Court of Human Rights has unanimously decided against Turkey in the seizure of a book about the country's biggest pop star Tarkan, which discussed his sexual orientation, news reports say.

"Tarkan - Anatomy of a Star" was first published in 2001 in Istanbul by Ozcan Sapan, a 50-year-old editor. The first part of the book discussed the phenomenon of stardom, the second part focused on the hugely popular recording artist. It also contained photographs.

Unhappy with several passages which alluded to his sexual orientation and his effeminate style, Tarkan took the publisher to court and obtained a seizure of the book. In 2004, the publisher obtained a lifting of the seizure on the grounds that the disputed passages, which were drawn from sociological research, were not aimed at undermining the singer.

But in 2005 Turkey's highest court upheld the ban, saying the book addressed "matters related to the privacy of Tarkan rather than his artistic personality".

Publisher Wins European Court Case

The human rights court unanimously ruled that Turkey had violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered publisher Sapan to be paid 2,000 euros (2,388 dollars) in compensation.

In its ruling, the European Court of Human Rights said the book, through scientific methods, used Tarkan to address the social phenomenon of stardom and could not be compared to the tabloid press and gossip columns, whose role was to satisfy curiosity about the details of celebrities' private lives.

The court noted that all the pictures used in the book were ones which Tarkan had posed for, and which had been published elsewhere.

Reaction from the Media

The Turkish press has reported on the decision, although some popular papers headlined the story as Turkey being punished because of Tarkan.

UPDATES: Columnist defends Tarkan >>
Radio DJ condemns Tarkan >>
A response to radio DJ's condemnation >>
Columnist thinks book no big deal >>

Bianet reported the story as "Turkey Sentenced for Book Seizure Requested by Singer Tarkan", while Today's Zaman wrote the "European Court fines Turkey for Tarkan book seizure".

Elsewhere in the media, Pressturk decided to run with a quote from the book as its headline: "Or is Tarkan Gay, too?"

News of the decision has also hit the international press in French, German and Dutch languages, with AFP's English language news wire being distributed as far away as The Daily Star in Lebanon.

UPDATE: Spanish article sees Tarkan's case as an attack on freedom of speech >>

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