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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

War of Words Over Tarkan Again

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

Screencap of reportAs more reports crop up in the Turkish press about updates to Tarkan's drug case - such as newspaper Vatan writing it's "bad news again for Tarkan" and Haberturk calling it "a shock indictment" - paper Sabah correspondent Sabah correspondent Mevlüt Tezel has once again taken the opportunity to take a stab at Turkish pop music's megastar.

Sabah's Tezel had begun a war of words over Tarkan in May against a Taraf newspaper writer's criticism of Pepsi for reports last March that the Turkish arm of the soft drink giant had dumped a million dollar sponsorship deal with Tarkan because the pop singer had been taken into custody by narcotics.

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

Tezel had remained quiet after the Taraf writer had published a response to his article, but has decided now to print a reply in light of the latest news reports about Tarkan's drug case.

"Lindsay, Tarkan and a Columnist"

"Drinking while under the influence of alcohol had gotten Lindsay Lohan handcuffed by her feet, and now because she hasn't attended seminars on drinking responsibly as legally required, she has been sentenced to 90 days in prison. But Lindsay isn't the first celebrity to go to jail.

"The American justice system is quick to punish celebrities when they break the law. Some like Paris Hilton go to jail, others like Naomi Campbell do community service (sweep the streets). This gives a public message that no one is above the law and that if you do the crime, you do the time.

"Our police share the same view, but when it's a celebrity that's in trouble with the law, our media immediately get defensive ... [the celebrities] are instantly turned into freedom fighters. The sins of the columnists are even worse. There are some that even accuse the police of making a show of it. Yes, I'm going to connect this subject up with Tarkan. I don't have any issues with Tarkan. I hope he'll escape a sentence in this case. Of course only if he's innocent!"

"The Stupidity of Telesiyej"

Tezel continues by talking about the Telesiyej column that had defended Tarkan and what he describes as the Taraf writer's "stupidity", adding that he wasn't against Tarkan but the actions of the journalist in defence of the famous singer.

"You'll remember how I criticised the Telesiyej nicknamed columnist, for newspaper Taraf, in this column for accusing Pepsi of a lack of foresight and for making a mistake in breaking off their contract with Tarkan. I had explained how it was completely natural for a giant brand like Pepsi to break off their agreement with Tarkan, and I had given eight gold medal winning 2008 Beijing Games hero, Michael Phelps, as an example where he had been stripped of his sponsors and advertisers after being photographed at a party taking drugs.

"However, Telesiyej had stated "that no Olympic sports person has fans", a silly argument that would make even a five year old laugh.

"His most stupid comment, though, was hidden in these lines: "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." What else could you expect from the legal offices representing Tarkan? Of course they're going to defend their client. Just this example is enough to show what a clueless writer Telesiyej really is.

"Let's get back to today... It still isn't clear whether Tarkan's case will be heard as part of a drug ring or not! [As the criminal judges in Istanbul couldn't agree which court had jurisdiction to hear the case, it was referred to a higher appeal court.] Now [a jurisdictional appeal court] will decide which court will hear Tarkan's case.

"This means that Tarkan, who is being indicted with a 1 or 2 year sentence for "buying and possessing drugs", is still under danger of being charged as part of a drug ring, which can bring about jail terms ranging from 5 to 23 years.

"But this is what happens if like Telesiyej the basis of your argument is one source! And he says to me, "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?" I don't know who Telesiyej is, or how he became a columnist, but it's obvious he has ignored the basic rules of journalism and confused his readers with only the information he got from Tarkan's lawyers.

"I still don't understand why Telesiyej would write such an article. I want to say it's because he really loves Tarkan, and that this love has made him write not one, but two misleading articles. But what can you say about him accusing a world giant like Pepsi for not being forward thinking? Frankly, every time I think about it I laugh. In my opinion Telesiyej needs to go through a fast track lesson on journalism!


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