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Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Victim of Democracy?

Posted by Hatice Soylu from Istanbul, Turkey and Steffan Matrak from Moscow, Russia

In the wake of Turkish singer Sıla Gençoğlu’s two dates at the Harbiye venue being cancelled over remarks that the August 7 rally was a "show" she refused to attend, eyes have turned to iconic pop singer Tarkan.

Like Sıla, who usually only goes by her first name, Tarkan, too, was noticeably absent from the hundreds of thousands of people who gathered in Istanbul for a rally under the hashtag #TurkeyUnited to protest against last month's attempted coup.

Hundreds of famous faces attended the rare tripartisan event, including Tarkan's current music label DMC's exec Samsun Demir, who tweeted photos from the large entourage of celebrities at the anti-coup rally.

Demir's tweets included Tarkan's long time producer and arranger - but Demir's silence over questions about Tarkan's absence had prompted some to ask if there was a rift between singer and label.

Tarkan only broke his silence on his Facebook account to publicise his own upcoming Harbiye concerts in Istanbul, but failed to mention the recent civilian deaths during the coup attempt - as well as boycotting the rally.

The six day event has yet to sell out and rumours from the Tarkan camp say that the pop singer is hoping to wow the audience and media on his opening night to draw in crowds who might stay away because of Tarkan's political views.

Now, some commentators are asking whether Tarkan will show his support for Sıla - who describes herself as a Tarkan fan - with her Harbiye shows cancelled after stressing she stood by her comments against the growing backlash.

UPDATE: Music exec Demir says singer should apologise >>

With another three concerts cancelled in three cities, Sıla has been forced to release a statement on her social media accounts, writing that she had used her democratic right of speaking her own mind and that her comments had been misinterpreted.

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