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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TV Critic Says No Prison Term for Tarkan

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Screencap of reportThe TV critic for Taraf newspaper's Telesiyej column has responded to Sabah correspondent Mevlüt Tezel in a recent "war of words" post, which also indirectly clears up the legal confusion surrounding Tarkan's drug hearing. The explanation echoes the statement provided by official sources to Tarkan Deluxe that had said the jail-term reports had been greatly exaggerated.

Tezel had criticised an article in Taraf's Telesiyej column this month that had come down on Pepsi for reportedly dumping a million dollar sponsorship deal with the Turkish megastar, suggesting that the TV critic was "trying to pass Tarkan off as innocent" to the column's readers.

UPDATE: Tezel in more war of words >>

It was reported last March that Pepsi had dumped Tarkan after the pop singer was taken into custody by narcotics.

<< Read about Tarkan's four day detainment by Turkish authorities here

"Tarkan, Pepsi and openly provoking goads in the media!"

"Supposedly a 'friend' in [entertainment supplement] Sabah Günaydın has condemned my article last Thursday written under the headline Tarkan's success and Pepsi Türkiye's failure to get their message across, resenting the fact I didn't mention Tarkan being taken into custody following an anti-drug sting.

"He says he thinks I'm trying to stick Tarkan as some symbol of innocence into the subconscious mind of the reader. It disturbed his conscience that I was deceiving the reader, because I wrote a cleverly plotted article, and was worried that the reader wouldn't understand this [trickery] at first glance.

"It's obvious our 'friend' doesn't know the reader very well then!

"Readers in general have a collective intelligence and mutual feeling that means they are only duped when they want to be ... but most are not duped, as long as the facts of truth are presented to them.

"I especially didn't go into the subject of drugs when I spoke about the storm created by Tarkan's latest song ["Sevdanın Son Vuruşu" ("Love's Last Strike")] and Pepsi's lack of vision as to this. It's because I believe it's outside the boundaries of professional etiquette to constantly label a star making the headlines with a new song and its success as [someone who had been] "taken into custody because of drugs".

"Does that mean we're going to label every other star who has gone through such things - that the media knows about - with their unfortunate incidents every time we talk about them? Even so, it was made clear in the previous two articles in Telesiyej on this matter that it was because of this the agreement between Pepsi and Tarkan had broken down.

"Tarkan Tried for Cannabis, Not Cocaine"

"This 'friend' came to the opinion that I don't read the papers, because if I did I would know there had been important developments in Tarkan's drug case, and that it was to be heard as part of a drug cartel.

"It's clear this 'friend' doesn't read his own paper!

"Because newspaper Sabah had written the exact opposite to this two weeks ago.

"A 6 May dated article headlined as "The famous artist is not amongst the accused drug ring. Tarkan's case to a special court," had been published in newspaper Sabah*. In the report it made clear that Tarkan was only being tried for the possession and personal use of 12 grams of cannabis [not cocaine] found.

"Nevertheless, Telesiyej emailed the legal offices of [Tarkan's lawyer] to get the necessary information.

"According to the explanation provided by the legal office: "Whichever court the case is tried at makes no difference, Tarkan will be charged under Code 191 of Turkish Law (possession of drugs). At the end of the hearing, the worst case scenario for Tarkan is that he will be put on probation. There is no direct jail term imposed for the crime [Tarkan is being charged] under."

"The 'friend' at Günaydın also says that 2008 Beijing Olympics medal winner Michael Phelps - for being photographed taking drugs - had his sponsorship deals cancelled, too. Fine, but no Olympics athlete has fans, Tarkan has millions of them. And these fans have united after everything that has happened, and are supporting him with banners like "Let it be written in golden letters across our hearts [that] we come together in your dignified character", and these fans consume cola. My article wasn't about Tarkan, it was about the reflexes of communication, our 'friend' must have read it wrong.

"Plus, he also said, "Or think of it this way: Tarkan is handed a prison sentence while his TV adverts are showing on air! Really 'Telesiyej', how can you write such an article!"

"Dear 'friend'... Seeing as the charge Tarkan is being accused under doesn't immediately follow a term of imprisonment, how can you force the reader to imagine such a thing?

"The foundation on which the media stands on culture is the basis of truth, not illusion! The media doesn't make the reader imagine things, it brings them to the truth. Otherwise, trying to outweigh the illusory scales of the readers' conscience becomes an openly provoking goad.


*Although the Sabah report also writes that prosecutors were asking for a two year jail term for Tarkan, making it read like the singer could go to jail, it does make clear that Tarkan would not be tried for cocaine smuggling. Sabah correspondent Tezel either didn't read this report, misread it or simply ignored it, while being ignorant of the Turkish penal code, too.

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