‘This too shall pass,’ sings Turkish pop star

A screenshot from the music video released on February 17 by Tarkan.

Tarkan, one of Turkey's mega popstars, released a new music video on February 17. The singer announced the release of the video to his 3.9 million Twitter followers. The video, titled “Geççek” (it too shall pass) has already gathered 3.8 million views since its release, as of this article's publication. The lyrics of the song immediately triggered a wave of reaction online, with some claiming it is about the COVID-19 pandemic, others arguing it alludes to political conflict in Turkey, and some saying the meaning is up for interpretation.

The video is live…
On my YouTube channel.

Some would understand and interpret this song as political, some about pandemic, some about all the bad things happening in the world and some about other things. That song is about how you understand and what you feel. Don't question the artist's feelings or reasons, concentrate instead on what you are feeling. This is what art is about.

Geççek addresses a number of ongoing issues in the country, such as the global pandemic and its impact on citizens. In the video, there are people stuck at home, in lockdowns, having online meetings, wearing masks on public transportation. The video continues to show images of factory workers, students, children, and even people stranded in Istanbul's notorious traffic. In order to reach his diverse audience, the singer, almost robotically enters a room full of computers, where he hacks into the network and begins streaming a music video onto people's devices, billboards and even in the metaverse where Tarkan sings in a virtual game, played by a young boy at home.

Prior to releasing his song, the 49-year-old star, reportedly said:

About a year ago, I went through a tough period when my mood was not very good. Many things such as the pandemic, the sad events happening in the world, the alarming course of humanity, the destruction of nature, affected me very negatively, and I felt like I was losing hope.

It was during that time, that the music and words for this song resonated inside me. ‘It shall pass, of course, this too shall pass, you will see, the day of hope’. I told myself, I have to write a song that will be good for all of us. I thought maybe this song would console us a little, give us morale and hope.

I hope ‘Geççek’ brings a smile to your face and will be good for all of us.

#Geççek and #gitçek (will leave) has been trending on Turkish Twitter.

Musicians in Turkey are known for chiming in on sensitive issues in the country through their music. In 2019, 20 rappers or MCs came together and released Susamam (cannot stay silent) which addressed a number of issues in Turkey. Most recently, veteran singer-songwriter Sezen Aksu released a song called “Hunter,” in response to sexist attacks leveled against the singer for another song she released in 2017, which was criticized for being sacrilegious.

Some Turkish artists described Tarkan's new song as “protest pop,” while opposition politicians chimed in about the song on Twitter.

Tarkan's “geççek” song makes history as the first protest pop song. There is no mentioning of a name in the song, otherwise it is clear who the song was addressed to! Congratulations! You are right, it will pass!

A song full of hope.

But the song hasn't escaped criticism. According to journalist Murat Özer, writing for Diriliş Postası, a newspaper known for its closeness to the ruling government, it was the main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) that commissioned the song. The journalist was speaking on a live TV show on February 17 shortly after the song was released. When Özer was asked to prove this statement, the journalist said the song was shared widely by the members of the opposition party.

Similar to Özer, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) parliament member, Alpay Özalan said in a tweet it was a sad sight for the opposition. “They [the opposition] have no projects or programs. They are consoled with a singer who has turned into a troll. An opposition with Tarkan pinned as their hope cannot govern even a coop, let alone govern the state.”

Hacı Yakışıklı, another journalist writing for a pro-government newspaper, suggested the song was written on the orders from Gülen movement, or “FETÖ” who stand accused of orchestrating the coup attempt in 2016, reported the Bianet online newspaper.

The fact that many interpreted the lyrics as a song not only about the pandemic is not surprising, wrote journalist Mahmut Çınar in his opinion piece, for Gazete Duvar, an online newspaper. “But this is what being a star entails I think. It is not easy to follow the Covid agenda and at the same time, send a message to the people overwhelmed by the current government and the economic crisis which is the result of its politics with a chic song.”

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