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Sunday, August 07, 2016

Tarkan at Odds with Music Label?

By Steffan Matrak posted from Moscow, Russia

Many hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul, today for a rally under the hashtag #TurkeyUnited to protest against last month's attempted coup.

The mass rally reportedly included hundreds of celebrities, with the three giants of the Turkish music industry joining ranks to bring their signed artists to the crowd.

One of the three big music labels, and Tarkan's current ticket, DMC was there in full force, but its presence was made more conspicuous by the absence of their iconic singer.

During the rare tripartisan event, DMC's music label exec Samsun Demir tweeted photos from the large entourage of celebrities at the anti-coup rally - including Tarkan's long time producer and arranger - but his silence over questions about Tarkan's absence have prompted some to ask if there is a rift between singer and label.

Since the coup, Demir has posted only once about Tarkan. On the 29 July he shared a repost about the upcoming release of the singer's classical album in vinyl. The retweet didn't mention the singer by name.

The label exec has continued to answer questions from fans to confirm the classical album's current best selling status with over a quarter of a million units sold.

Demir has also said that a video would not be filmed for "Cuppa" and an August release date was unlikely for Tarkan's latest pop album because of recent events.

But unusually, Demir failed to tweet about the release of "Cuppa" on Tarkan's official YouTube account or about this year's series of Tarkan concerts slated to start in September at the Harbiye.

Tarkan broke his silence on his Facebook account to publicise his upcoming concerts in Istanbul, but failed to mention the recent civilian deaths during the coup attempt.

The line-up to the Harbiye concerts reveals a change of heart by the singer, who has decided to focus on his classical album instead of sidelining it for a pop release as previously planned.

It's unknown whether this has been because of the cold reception to his latest pop offering, or to try to win back the patriotic hearts and minds of the public some believe he shunned today.

The artist, known for his unifying effect across Turkey and as an activist for women and animal rights, is not the only Turkish celebrity to remain silent or boycott the rally, but Tarkan's silence has polarised his fans.

This year, some commentators in the Turkish press believe the concerts will be a test to measure public reaction against Tarkan's silence, and for the disappointment over his summer pop track, which has yet to find its audience.

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