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Monday, August 16, 2010

Tarkan, Through a Glass Darkly

By Kaya Turan reporting from Rochester, UK

Looking at Tarkan through a glass darkly

A pop star is nothing more than a dim image in a mirror that fans want to see more clearly.

The reasons for wanting an active, official Tarkan domain on the net is numerous and differs from individual to individual, but unarguably one of the main objectives will be to HD-up that image.

For those non-Turkish speaking fans bombarded with the dizzying, glaring, contradicting reports from the Turkish gutter press it must be something like suffering through a verbal epileptic fit.

What to believe?

How many hard CDs has Tarkan's latest release really shifted? Did Tarkan rock at his Bodrum show or not?

Is it better to be talked about than not all? On the internet it was all about the buzz generated, now you need to be trending.

Now thanks to relatively new technologies, the only source of information is no longer traditional media channels. A quick flick through Twitter pulls up stories not at first evident in the physical papers or their online incarnations.

Screencap of tweetsFrom everyday people in Turkey tweeting that Tarkan is playing from almost every beach, disco and house where they live, to a rumour from a person in the music industry claiming the lyrics to Tarkan's hit "Sevdanın Son Vuruşu" (Adımı Kalbine Yaz, 2010) were sent to singer Kenan Doğulu first, who rejected them.

Even more interesting are some of the responses received by music label DMC rep Samsun Demir on his Twitter account.

It seems that due to the hasty printing of CDs for Tarkan's 2010 album to quickly meet the (which I guess was unexpected from their side) high demand, Demir is getting complaints from Turkish celebrities and the public that the CDs being purchased are faulty.

Some won't play, some play Tarkan's old tracks.

Alongside that music label rep Demir is playing mouthpiece for confirmations of album sales, posting that as of 14 August 275,000 CDs (including faulty ones) had been sold, with Demir claiming that this will reach half a million copies once the video singles are released.

Demir also claims that the 275,000 figure is a 16 day sales record for the last five years, although he seems to have forgotten that Tarkan's 2007 album Metamorfoz (also released by DMC) sold over 300,000 just after two weeks of release.

But none of these are from Tarkan's virtual mouth himself. Although he has promised fans first-hand news from official sources, Tarkan's official networks churn out automaton messages, as though a robot version of the singer is pushing buttons somewhere.

The press section at Tarkan.com shouldn't be confused with its news section, either. The press snippets provided by the official site are just a cross section of media buzz about the singer, their selection doesn't make the reports any more true.

For example, it has a press snippet which claims Tarkan's album has sold 300,000 in a week, while it has only selected reports about the Bodrum show that reported favourably on the event.

Screencap of Tarkan.com's press sectionPress snippets at Tarkan.com

The press section can't be said to be overtly biased, however, as it also holds reports from Tarkan's drug scandal, but the section is lacking because it fails in a basic - but very fundamental - way. If fails to cite the news sources, and worse cuts off the names of the papers from the screencap clips it provides.

Whichever way we look, we only manage to see Tarkan through a glass darkly.

The only time he shines is on stage, and no where more brighter than the open air arena at Istanbul's the Harbiye.

Maybe as fans we should just stick to buying tickets to watch Tarkan perform live. Besides, how else do you get to know someone really well but hanging out at their home?

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