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Friday, July 24, 2009

Living with Tarkan

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Turkish paper Today's Zaman has run an article about the Japanese families that have moved to Istanbul for the construction of the Marmaray project, revealing Tarkan's music as a bridge between cultures.

Marmaray (Marmarail) is an undersea rail tunnel being constructed to link the European and Asian sections of Istanbul, running under the Bosphorus strait. First dreamt of by Sultan Abdul Mecit 150 years ago, when completed it will be the world's deepest undersea immersed tube tunnel. The name Marmaray comes from combining the name of the Sea of Marmara, which lies just south of the project site, with ray, the Turkish word for rail.

Listening to Tarkan

Today's Zaman writes that Japanese engineers, who moved with their spouses and children five years ago to work on the project, have not only managed to harmonise themselves with Turkish culture, but have fallen in love with all things Turkish in the process.

Detailing how Japanese families residing in the fifth largest city in the world have immersed themselves in learning how to create Turkish and Ottoman art; they are also actively learning the Turkish language, with the ladies expressing their joy at listening to Turkish pop star Tarkan's music.

And when asked whether they saw Turks as European or Asian, the Japanese Marmaray Project engineers are quoted as saying: "Turkey is neither Asian nor European. Turkey is just Turkey. You need to take advantage of this fact. You really don't need anyone."

"Bringing Tarkan to Sing isn't a Civic Duty"

Meanwhile paper Hürriyet reports that Prof. Dr. Orhan Kural, currently head of the Mining Engineering Department at the Istanbul Technical University (where the artist had appeared for its spring festival this year), has been publicly criticising city municipalities for slacking in their duties towards issues of the environment.

Defending the view that local government should be doing more to downsize the effects of urbanisation on surrounding green belts in a recent climate summit held in Bursa, Prof. Dr. Kural indicated his displeasure at the recent furore of municipalities in signing up Tarkan for their annual festivals.

"City Hall's duty isn't to call Tarkan by limousine to give concerts," he said.

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