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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tarkan's Hidden Things

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Turkish newspaper Sabah's magazine supplement Günaydın has printed a series of claims about Tarkan's latest Turkish work, adding to the mystery that already surrounds the release of the singer's domestic album.

While revealing the common rumour that the album would be coming "a month from now", the paper has gone on to publish the name of the music company that Tarkan has supposedly signed up with. It writes:

"Tarkan had given priority to business abroad due to the English album "Come Closer" he released last year. And now the famous singer is counting down to the release of a new album with only Turkish songs. Releasing all his works under his own music label after separating from Istanbul Plak, Tarkan has signed up with DMC for his new album."

Under the subheading "Their Names Hidden", the Günaydin piece continues: "Uniting the album with fans a month from now, to prevent the new songs from being stolen the famous singer isn't even giving out their names. It has been made clear that compositions from Nazan Öncel and Sezen Aksu will be found alongside his own songs."

It had been the same paper that printed news this month contradicting this latest development, stating that Tarkan's Turkish album would only host his own songs. If this latest news is true, Tarkan's album will be only the second album in the Turkish music market to have songs from both celebrated songwriters, due to their reported rivalry in the Turkish press.

Turkey's Goodwill Ambassador

In connection with new works, news has also been released that Tarkan might be thinking of indirectly promoting his parents' homeland in future music videos.

Although fans are divided as to its authenticity, the article states that Tarkan has applied for permission to film in some of the palaces that are situated in Istanbul, most notably the Dolmabahçe Palace, with the intention to film his first video for his 2008 album. The year of release suggests it's in connection with the re-release of his English work.

Indicating that Tarkan is looking to become a goodwill ambassador for Turkey, it's also said that alongside the Bosphorus, Tarkan wants to film the Mediterranean and Aegean shores of Turkey, with mostly panoramic shots from the sky.

In Tarkan's Shadow

Tarkan and the singer's girlfriend Bilge ÖztürkMeanwhile, as the press try to dig out Tarkan's intentions for his two upcoming projects, others in reports past and present have tried to sum up the elusive Turkish pop idol.

From the mouth of those that have literally been in Tarkan's shadow, two bodyguards have tried to describe what it is like working with Turkey's belly-dancing boy in interviews dating from 2001 and 2006.

In an article dated 17 December 2006, Sabah published an interview by Esin Övet with Tarkan's head of security Levent Ağaoğlu (pictured behind Tarkan and the singer's girlfriend Bilge Öztürk above).

Explaining that it was one-time Tarkan manager, star-maker Ahmet San that introduced star security to Turkey, Ağaoğlu describes his relationship with Tarkan as one of strict discipline and trust: "I give a lot of importance to Tarkan's security. I don't sleep until he's asleep, and when he wakes I'm ready for duty." Also revealing that he gets tired of being asked about Tarkan's personal life, he emphasises that he will never reveal the singer's secrets. "I do my job ... and it's based on trust. I would never do anything to destroy that".

Protecting celebrities for nearly two decades, the kick boxer enthusiast explained that he was initially hesitant to take the role of Tarkan's personal guard, because it would mean "entering his work, social and private life. But I took the risk, because without risk-taking you can't be successful".

Being offered the role after working at a party, which Tarkan's manager of domestic affairs Uygar Ataş had been invited to, Ağaoğlu explains that working with Tarkan was a relationship that offered constant renewal and development. It was one in which he learnt English and made contacts in security from all across the world while touring with the Turkish star.

"We are on guard the minute Tarkan's stage has been set up. When we leave and enter the hotel we constantly change entrance cards. Before and after rehearsal, and on the day of the concert, only security personnel are allowed access. To make the celebrity feel at ease we keep the pace up. If there are any problems we don't let Tarkan know."

Possibly more revealing, and printed under the headline "Tarkan's 'Comic' Bodyguard" (3 January, 2001), Turkish paper Radikal ran an interview with one-time bodyguard-cum-stand-up-comedian Talat Ditaban, whose anecdotes include getting lost on the streets of New York while with the singer.

UPDATE: Ditaban shares Tarkan memories (2012) >>

"Tarkan has fans that love him a lot. They are seriously in love with him. They are capable of anything. But the real danger lies in these girls' boyfriends, fiancés and husbands...the real danger is the men that are jealous of this attention. Believe me in France there is an unbelievable group of these girls. He can't walk the streets. They scream [his name] behind him.

"I'd go to the place Tarkan would give a concert at least 8 hours in advance. When I'm there the only place you get to see Tarkan is on stage. If a member of the audience actually manages to break through all the security barriers and makes it on stage, then in my opinion they've earned the right to stay there."

Protecting Tarkan for ten years since the singer's early days, he had been reluctant to work for the artist initially as "good things weren't being said about him in those days. But after meeting him I realised he wasn't like that".

Ditaban defined his job description by separating meanings between security and bodyguard, adding that a bodyguard doesn't gossip about his employer's private life. However, for him there are "three Tarkans - Tarkan the boss, Tarkan the star, and Tarkan the friend.

"As my boss I'm always on guard, as the star I admire his work, as my friend we work out together. Fitness and muscle development. That's all I'll say."

Tarkan Deserving of Star Status

And finally, in an interview recorded this month, female singer Gülay Eralp, who is trying to make a comeback after 10 years, is quoted to have said that "Tarkan is about the only person who deserves the title of star".

She went on to stress that, "Do something honest, don't imitate, don't badmouth everyone, because you won't get anywhere. You'll think you're on top, but suddenly you'll realise you're at the bottom looking at those above you".

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