Tarkan Wins Best Male Pop Singer Award
Turkish newspaper Hürriyet's entertainment supplement, Kelebek's 38th annual Altın Kelebek (Golden Butterfly) Awards saw Tarkan awarded with two gongs for Best Male Pop Artist and Best Song of the Year for "Sevdanın Son Vuruşu" (Love's Last Strike).
Every year, winners of popular categories in Turkish TV and music are chosen by the newspaper's readers by a single voting ballot, with the ceremony aired on Turkish TV station Star TV.
In its 38th year, the 2011 award ceremony was held at the Haliç Congress Centre in Istanbul on the 13th of June. Hosted by Hürriyet's female correspondent Ayşe Arman and talk show presenter Beyazıt Öztürk, Tarkan attended the celebrity bash to add two more trophies to the awards he won at the 17th Kral Music Awards in May.
However, the media controversy caused at music station Kral's event reared its head as the multi-award winning artist went up to accept his prizes.
After Tarkan had sang his prize-winning song "Sevdanın Son Vuruşu", Turkish female singer Tuğba Ekinci made a surprise appearance on stage. Notorious for her headline grabbing antics, Ekinci questioned Tarkan on actress Hülya Avşar's criticisms about him following the Kral awards ceremony.
Actress Avşar had felt snubbed at the Kral show when Tarkan appeared at the end of the evening, instead of picking up his prizes from the announcing celebrities. Days later, Tarkan's one-time favourite actress publicly hurled a barrage of verbal abuse at the pop star, questioning his achievements and charitable works.
"Hülya Avşar wants to know why haven't you built a school?" Ekinci had asked a bewildered Tarkan, while also adding that she was "on his side" and the singer with whom she "most wanted to sing".
Refusing to be drawn into the controversy, Tarkan had left the podium without collecting his awards, signalling Ekinci not to expect a duet with him any time soon.
In a twist, Ekinci's name has appeared beside Tarkan's without her scene stealing efforts, in an album released by Putumayo World Music in 2006, a record label of world music compilations.
The blurb on Putumayo's official site for Turkish Groove describes Tarkan as leading the way with a smooth voice and infectious rhythms, and Ekinci as taking a different route to success with shock tactics.
Hürriyet's Prize Evening Started Well for Tarkan
The evening's hosts, Arman and Öztürk, were in high spirits as they welcomed Tarkan, who made his entrance dressed smartly and looking relaxed. At the podium, host Öztürk joked about Tarkan's punctual arrival, hinting at the criticism made about the Kral show.
In the past, both hosts have openly shown an interest to interview Tarkan, and whilst waiting for the best song of the year prize to be read out, the recording artist seemed bemused at the amiable tug of war between his two hosts over who should secure an interview with him.
Öztürk, known popularly as Beyaz, has long campaigned to get the singer on his late night show, while Arman, known for her sensationalist reporting style, already has two notable interviews with the pop star in 2001 and 2006 under her belt.
Often focusing on Tarkan's sexuality, Arman's 2006 Tarkan interview had instigated Öztürk's public campaign to get Tarkan on his show, after the recording artist had reportedly complained about the quality of Turkish TV. The singer's comments had attracted criticism from the entertainment press, with which he said he had a crisis of trust.
Although clearly showing her infatuation with Tarkan during the award presentation, neither Arman nor Öztürk stopped Ekinci's display of self-promotion, casting doubt on whether Tarkan would give either of them an interview, or whether he would retreat from Turkish TV screens again believing his fears proven right.
Ironically, in the 2006 interview with Arman, Tarkan had spoken about his admiration for celebrities and their good causes. Mentioning Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie for her efforts in this area, Tarkan had talked about his own attempts, and the difficulty in getting the necessary backing for such projects.
Meanwhile, Tarkan's Golden Butterfly wins and the podium conversation caused the recording artist to trend a second time on Twitter, after trending for his sweep of awards at Kral's music award evening.
Turkish fans tweeting about Monday night's event gave users of the social site around the world a chance to remember the singer's international hits in the late 1990s.