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* At 13 he had to leave Germany
* At 16 he had his first broken heart
* At 19 he was homeless

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Bravo Magazine (Germany), April 1999

Tarkan's dream began in his room in a small rental house in Germany, only 20 square feet tall, with nothing but a closet, a small writing-table and a stack bed.  He had to share his room with his brother Hakan. "Elvis Presley and Shakin' Stevens were my idols", remembers Tarkan.  "My walls were covered with their posters, and I had only one dream: to be as famous as them"  But there was no money for this kind of crazy dreams.  Tarkan's father Ali, who moved from  Turkey to Germany in the 60's, had a tough time to make both ends meet. His mother had her hands full with maintaining the big household.
At the age of six Tarkan went to school.
"I was always a quiet and good boy", he says.  "In my free time I always sang Turkish pop songs and traditional Turkish music or I watched my goldfishes.  I love fish."
When Tarkan was ten he changed school .  His favorite classes were music, biology and art.
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How sweet: Tarkan was already dancing at the age of four.
"I sang in the school choir and made paintings of flowers and animals", he remembers.  "In the summertime I earned some pocket money and I bought my first stereo."  
But at the age of 13 came a big shock!  Tarkan's father decided to go back to Turkey.  "We couldn't understand why he wanted to go back.  We were raised there, we had our friends there.  We were totally disappointed he made this decision without consulting us."
While his eldest sisters refused to go back and stayed in Germany, the rest of the family moved back to Turkey - in the province of Karamürsel near Izmit.  "For me, the worst years of my life began, the conservative attitude of the Turkish people was a real culture shock to me", Tarkan says.   
"I wore worn out jeans, multi-colored T-shirts and an earring, but over there multi-colored clothes are forbidden for men.  In school I had to wear a dark blue uniform and a tie, and I had to get a hair cut."
However he concentrated on Turkish literature in school, and was the head of his class, he acted rebellious.  "He walks and talks like a pop star", his teacher  often said to his parents.   
Tarkan was 16, when he discovered love. 
"I fell for a girl, who was five years older then me, it was only an adventure."  he says.  "Not much later I fell in love for the first time.  Nikris was her name, she was 15 and the daughter of my music teacher, were I took lessons in classical music."
A love without a future, as Tarkan's  unpredictable father decided to move again - to Istanbul this time.  "I was really sad I had to break up with my girl friend.  After this disappointment nothing mattered anymore, and I led a wild life with innumerous sex-adventures and affairs.  In Istanbul, I had many girlfriends at the same time and many one-night-stands." tarkan209.jpg (104617 bytes)
In 1993 Tarkan's dream 
came true: he became a pop star
Then Tarkan fell in love for the second time:  Her name was Tülin and went to the same school.  But once more, his father made them move back to Karamürsel again.  
After he finished high school, he backed his bags, and went to Istanbul without any money.  He lived on the streets for days, until he found shelter with his friend Alpay.   
"I didn't know what to do, my life was senseless", Tarkan says.  But then his luck changed: he met the producer Mehmet Sögütoglu, and his first album "Yine Sensiz" (again without you) became a giant success in 1993.  Today Tarkan is a star and lives in a luxurious loft in Manhattan.  He can't go back to Turkey, however:  he would be forced to do his military service.

Bravo Magazine, April 1999.  Translated from German by Marleen



© Marleen 1999-2004