Kenan Dogulu, Turkey�s choice for the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki in May, has enjoyed, unanimous support by the Turkish media, star system and public so far. On the other hand he hasn�t escaped criticism for his intention to do a song in English mainly. Some comments of his in the Turkish Press have triggered angry reactions by the Turkish Language Association.
Kenan told the reporters that he will have to prepare three songs in a very short time and that is not going to be easy. Still, he has the responsibility to represent Turkey and he will certainly do his job. He also added that he is open to suggestions right now.
When asked whether he worried about not being successful, Kenan said: “It is impossible not to, but I look at things in a positive way. I have already released 140 songs in my career, I could survive a bad result”.
Kenan will not be alone in this. He will be working with his brother Ozan and Turkish megastar Sezen Aksu. Sezen is said to have encouraged Kenan in the first place to go for Helsinki. Working with Sezen, who is an accomplished singer, songwriter and composer makes Kenan feel more confident about a positive result for Turkey. Actually he has stated that Sezen Aksu is his “guarantee” . Emphasis will be put more on the musical part of the song than the lyrics and he will aim at something that appeals to younger ages.
Another Turkish star, Tarkan, expressed publicly his support to Dogulu. He said the press: “I fully support Kenan, I am sure he will come back with a positive result. The contest will open many doors for him. We must support each other”.
As expected, there have been negative reactions to Kenan’s intention to sing his song in English rather than Turkish. The same thing had happened in the past with Sertab Erener who won the competition for Turkey in 2003 singing Every way that I can in English. Kenan said that “it’s an old minded people’s idea that the song must be in Turkish.” To that the Turkish Language Association (TDK* in Turkish) reacted immediately demanding Kenan to apologise, something which the singer did, as Kannal 1 reported today. TDK opposes the idea of the song in English rather strongly. They stated that:
“If the miracle was about singing in English, then the UK wouldn’t be last when Sertab won with an English song in 2003. The thing that has to be done is to participate with a song with Turkish lyrics! Dogulu’s statement insulted the Turkish language. Furthermore his intention to sing in English shows that he is not self confident. The most important thing is to make a song with Turkish lyrics and a composition that will suit the lyrics”.
In TDK’s opinion, people vote for the song’s music not the lyrics. They are said to be trying to persuade TRT to renforce their previous rule that demanded all songs to be in Turkish. TDK is the official regulatory body for the Turkish language. The association acts as the official authority on the language without any enforcement power.One of its aims, as of lately, is the protection of the Turkish language against globalization and the monopoly of the English Language.
A very special thanks to Serol Karalar for his contribution to the article.