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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tarkan Kicks Off Year of Culture

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Istanbul ECOC 2010

German and Spanish language channels also report on Istanbul's inauguration as European Capital of Culture 2010As Tarkan kicked off a culture-packed year for Istanbul to celebrate its title as a European culture capital last Saturday, German and Spanish language news channels have also reported the event ranging from countries such as Switzerland to Peru (see left pic).

Some have described the axis of Europe as having shifted slightly to the east, with "Turkish Prince of Pop" Tarkan at the helm, though one of the few exceptions has been Newsweek's Budget Travel writer Kate Appleton who described Tarkan as a simply a "local pop star".

Turkish paper Milliyet has also reported on the international coverage, writing that the reports state Tarkan's show was "the most anticipated concert" of the evening, while Istanbul2010's official site has published their own photographs from the event.

Tarkan in Taksim
Tarkan in Taksim
Tarkan in Taksim
Tarkan in Taksim
Tarkan in Taksim

<< View more photographs from Tarkan's Taksim show

Tarkan's Special Istanbul Jacket

Tarkan's jacket specially designed by London resident, Turkish designer Ceyda BalabanElsewhere in Milliyet, reports focus on Tarkan's stage costume for last Saturday's public show, especially his studded jacket.

London resident, Turkish designer Ceyda Balaban made the special leather jacket with 6,000 metal studs imported from Italy in three days. The word Istanbul was sown into the back, with a large 'T' to represent Tarkan.

The article quotes Balaban as saying that they also imported his shoes and trousers from London to complete the overall effect.

"Whatever Tarkan wears he carries well. The feedback we've got is great," she said.

Tarkan is Taksim

Writing for independent media portal Bianet, Murat Utku's piece about the celebrations quotes the organiser as to why Tarkan appeared in Taksim.

"The organiser says, 'As well as Istanbul, Taksim is the face of Turkey. Without prejudice, this place opens its arms to all colours and creeds. This is why it is right Tarkan be here. Tarkan does not represent one region of Istanbul alone, he represents the whole city, just like Taksim!'

"Tarkan is someone who has been educated in music in the US, and is indisputably the biggest pop star of the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia and naturally Turkey.

"He is a strong enough image to be able to star in a TV spot for citrus fruits in Russia and make sales in oranges explode. Everyone is proud of him," Utku declares.

TV Broadcasts of Inauguration

Footage from TV broadcasts and news agencies show Tarkan in his usual energetic mood last Saturday night, as he entertained thousands all joined together despite the rainy weather to celebrate Istanbul's latest title as a European culture capital.

Although media reports had printed earlier last year that Tarkan no longer wanted to use dancers on stage, video footage from Turkish TV broadcasts show a troupe of dancers accompanying the singer on stage during a visual lights show, as Tarkan apologises to the audience for not dancing too much because the stage was wet from the rain.

After saying how proud he was to be representing Istanbul, "It's wet and we don't want to slip. Even the dancers are having trouble, so please don't read anything into it," he can be heard saying on the footage.

<< Watch more video footage from Tarkan's Taksim show

What for the Future?

Meanwhile, the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review has published an article titled "Istanbul 2010: Don't waste the opportunity!" (17 January/Joost Lagendijk), offers some background to the selection of Istanbul as 2010 European culture capital.

"The choice for the capital outside of the EU was between Istanbul and Kiev.

"To be honest, it was not really a difficult game to win. Compared to the Ukrainian capital, Istanbul is simply playing in a different league. Its equals are cities like Rome, Paris, Berlin, Vienna or London. Not Kiev."

Lagendijk's article does, however, reveal that not everybody is happy with the organisations, as Tarkan Deluxe had previously reported.

"Speaking to a lot of people over the last couple of weeks, almost nobody was excited and many were skeptical [sic] or simply extremely negative. Whether correct or not, the image of the Istanbul 2010 project is, at the moment, very bad. The dominant perception is one of poor planning, disastrous financial control, corruption and broken dreams.

"Let us hope that in the coming months, the organizers manage to present Istanbul in such a way that both the city’s visitors and its inhabitants get a real chance to enjoy all the beautiful, sometimes unknown, sides of this glorious place," Lagendijk appeals in his article.

The BBC also reports that Istanbul competed fiercely with the Ukrainian capital Kiev to win this title, noting it as the last time it will be offered to a non-EU member.

"With its rich heritage of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman history and its pulsating contemporary urban life, Istanbul is already recognized as one of the world's great cultural capitals," the BBC's Jonathan Head writes.

"But big questions hang over how effective the rest of the year's programme will be."

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