On February 26, 2010, along with some other entertainers and journalists, the Prince of Turkish Pop was detained by police for using drugs. There are claims that small amount of hashish was found in Tarkan’s countryhouse in Omerli, Istanbul and alleged taped phone conversations revealing Tarkan contacting drug dealers.
Tarkan, who was detained by police until late evening today and questioned for alleged cocaine use, underwent some health checks, which is a common procedure for the detained in Turkey before they appear before prosecutors. Tarkan is expected to be questioned by the prosecutors either on Sunday or Monday.
Despite the numerous claims in Turkish media, no officials statements have yet been made about the incident.
Since Tarkan was detained by the police in a raid last Friday, he has made headlines in Turkey and abroad. Turkish newspapers such as Hurriyet, Milliyet and Sabah have covered the incident extensively on their first pages, and the websites of these newspapers have frequently updated their coverage of the incident. It was only Haberturk, on Saturday, that managed to post two photographs of Tarkan waiting in the police headquarters in Istanbul.
The Sunday edition of Haberturk also published a full-page examination of the incident and looked into the reasons for the increasing use of drugs among Turkish celebrities. Among the experts interviewed by Haberturk was a well-known psychologist Alanur Özalp. She stated that artists and singers unfortunately sometimes tend to think that the use of drugs would boost their creativity mainly due to the fact that as a marketing strategy drug dealers intentionally make up slang drug terms encouraging drug abuse. Özalp also warned the media not to overreact to the incident since there are only claims but no official statements yet.
In the same article, by referring to Tarkan’s failed attempt to enter American and European music markets with his debut English language album “Come Closer” in 2006, Mumin Sekman, an author who is known for his books about personal development and success, claimed that Tarkan goes through a “Nevsehir-New York syndrome.” [Nevsehir is a town in Central Anatolia]. According to Sekman, Tarkan loves New Yorkers but it is in fact his Turkish fans who love him the most. Sekman also adds that Turkey should not turn its back on Tarkan for the sake of all the great songs he has made over the years.
March 1, 2010 Monday
Tarkan, who has been in custody since last Friday, has just been taken to Istanbul Courthouse in Besiktas, where he will be formally charged. According to the reports in Turkish newspapers, Tarkan regrets using drugs and has apologized for this incident. The newspaper reports also say that Tarkan is willing to pursue a drug rehab program to fight addiction.Columnist Ali Eyuboglu of Turkish daily Milliyet has today written his opinions about why Tarkan’s case has taken up so much space in public agenda. According to Eyuboglu, Tarkan is such a big star in Turkey that his case cannot be taken merely as “a personal thing”. Eyuboglu states that regardless of what the prosecutors’ decision will be, what matters most is how Tarkan will regain his fans’s support after this unpleasant incident.
March 1, 2010 Monday evening
Tarkan has been released by the prosecutors of Istanbul Courthouse. After his release, he found an army of reporters and cheering fans waiting outside the Courthouse. Although Tarkan looked very exhausted, he managed to briefly thank his family, fans, fellow singers and his lawyers for their support and said that he realized how much he is loved.
After Tarkan’s release, his attorneys issued a written statement. The statement appears to be contradicting the news being circulated in the Turkish media since Tarkan was detained by the police last Friday. According to the statement, Tarkan is not a drug addict, he is not involved in drug trafficking, his name has not been found in the drug dealers’s notebooks, he has not provided his friends with a place for using drugs and no drugs have been seized in his house. The lawyers said that the trial will reveal the truth. They also asked the press not to be taken in by rumors until official statements have been made.