Ad featuring Turkey’s iconic star stirs debate on ‘respect’
A bank commercial on Turkish television featuring the imitation of Zeki Müren, an iconic Turkish singer touted as the country’s “sun of art,” has stirred a vicious debate on social media involving famous figures.
The debate was ignited last week by a remark made by Barış Yarkadaş, a former lawmaker of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and also a columnist.
“The commercial is disrespectful to the memory of Zeki Müren. İşbank should stop making this disrespect and withdraw the advertisement,” Yarkadaş said in a tweet on Sept. 6, sharing an image from the video.
Yarkadaş also criticized Çağlar Çorumlu, the actor who plays Müren, claiming that he was used as a tool in this discourteousness.
“Money is not everything, Çorumlu,” Yarkadaş added.
In the video series, Çorumlu, disguised as Zeki Müren, takes advantage of today’s technological developments, using a contactless credit card after shopping at a mall while riding a scooter.
He also slaloms on the sea with a hoverboard, receives a pizza from a delivery man, and uses his smartphone while checking his latest banking transactions at the end of the video.
While Yarkadaş’s comments about the ad sparked a debate on social media, many users got involved in the heated discussions in the context of being respectful and disrespectful.
However, many users agreed that Müren was honored in the commercial contrary to what was said, arguing that “imitations keep the original figure alive.” Müren’s family weighed in to bring an end to the debates.
“I did not see any aspect to be criticized and strongly objected to. My memories came back to life and I started to look at the ad more sympathetically when I watched it,” said Sevtuğ Olgaç, a nephew of the deceased pop icon.
Müren was a singer, composer, songwriter, producer, and actor who still is remembered as one of the greatest stars of Turkey’s entertainment life.
His flamboyant look became known as a symbol of his strength of character and individuality, and his theatrical and flashy stage shows in his early career were always unique and revolutionary.
After a long and successful life in front of cameras, the legendary singer died on a stage, suffering a heart attack in 1996 at age 65 while recording a show for state-run TRT in the Aegean province of İzmir.
The channel had just given him the microphone he had used in his first radio broadcast in 1951. But right after the presentation of the award, the singer collapsed while trying to overcome his emotions.
His death plunged Turkey into mourning.