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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Columnist Defends Tarkan

A columnist in Turkish daily Hürriyet, Cengiz Semercioğlu has come out in defence of Turkish pop icon Tarkan, after the singer faced criticism for failing to cancel his spring fest show on the day of the Soma mine disaster, where over three hundred people lost their lives.

There have been harsh words written against Tarkan by certain columnists claiming that the artist took to the stage knowing about the mine disaster, because cancelling the concert for a second time would have meant returning tickets and losing a million in sales.

Writing in his column today, Semercioğlu reminds his Turkish readers of the charitable man behind the celebrity, and advises against making the popular entertainer into a scapegoat for a public lynching.

Interestingly, only last month Semercioğlu had written an article criticising Tarkan himself, for not getting back to a celebrity actor who wanted the pop icon to get involved in a charity project for children. The head of Tarkan's current record label DMC, Samsun Demir, had responded on his Twitter account to blast Semercioğlu over the piece.

"After all the millions Tarkan has raised for children," Demir tweeted reminding the columnist of Tarkan's work with the charity association Mika-der, "you're in grave error. You should have least tried to find out that Tarkan's people did get in touch."

Now defending the pop singer, Semercioğlu also intimates that Tarkan did in fact know of the mine incident before he started his show, just not how serious it was - seemingly contradicting Tarkan's own Facebook message yesterday.

The singer himself had posted a note to say he had no idea of the crisis in Soma and the huge loss of life until after the show, following the rising criticism from social networks over his apparent ignorance of the disaster.

News from another channel quotes the head of Tarkan's current record label, Demir, saying that it was an organisation error, as no one informed the singer of the disaster until after his performance. There are now rumours Tarkan may headline at a charity concert for the Soma victims.

In his defence of Tarkan, Semercioğlu reveals however that those attending the concert described Tarkan as "unbelievably lacklustre", giving the worst performance of his life.

On the night following that dark day in Soma, Tarkan had a concert at the İTÜ stadium ... Tarkan is being questioned on how he, and his young audience, could party during a day of national mourning. However those wishing to single out Tarkan and those attending the event as scapegoats are overlooking a fact. The time was 18.30 when Tarkan's audience were admitted into the stadium. At that time no one knew what was going on in Soma. Even when Tarkan got on stage the seriousness of the disaster was still unknown.

He wasn't enjoying himself, and the audience knew it. Around 23.00 he left the stage. When Tarkan had started his show, the Minister of Energy hadn't made his first speech quoting the death toll. The severity of the situation only became clear later on. Those coming to have a good time had no idea what was going on anyway. Being on stage at that time, and faced with the sharply rising number of deaths, all Tarkan could do was hurriedly end his show.

Besides which, a multitude of precedents tell us that Tarkan is a man with a conscience. He isn't an artist who would take to the stage that evening, and continue on with his show, knowing that hundreds of miners had died. And the first thing he did was cancel his 19 May fest at Beşiktaş anyway.

I asked the organisers of that evening's event and they said that, "When Tarkan got on stage the death toll was known as seven, and we didn't have any credible sources at hand."

I don't agree with Tarkan's critics and I feel I can speak for him with 100% certainty, because had the news of the hundreds of dead miners reached Tarkan at around 18.00-19.00, no one could have persuaded him to perform..."

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