İbrahim Tatlises shot by unknown assailant: full JMB coverage here

Monday, March 14, 2011

Turkish singer Ibrahim Tatlises has been shot!

Here's the story:
Ibrahim Tatlises, a Turkish singer of Kurdish descent who has millions of fans in Turkey and around the Middle East, was in critical condition in an Istanbul hospital yesterday after being shot in the head by unknown assailants.
Tatlises, 59, was shot as he left a television studio after completing his regular show there around midnight on Sunday. Buket Cakici, an assistant of the singer, was also hurt when at least two people opened fire with automatic weapons and then sped away in a black car.
[Here's the story in the Hurriyet Daily Bugle].

Tatlises, of course, has long been rumored to be connected to various mafia-type elements in Turkey. I remember back in the 1990s there was a scandal when a dude Tatlises was with shot somebody after, it was alleged, Tatlises had told him to do it.

Unsurprisingly, speculation is that this was a hit related to organized crime. Here's what the National article sez:

Persistent reports in the Turkish media linking Tatlises to the Turkish Mafia have been fuelled by the fact that prosecutors questioned him in connection with investigations concerning several organised crime groups, and there were at least two attempts to shoot him in the past. He was injured in one shooting in 1990 and escaped unharmed in the other, in 1998.
"Tatlises was the first one who carried the music and the lifestyle of the south-east to Istanbul," Prof Karahasanoglu said, adding that in the course of the singer's career, his business interests seem to have taken priority over the musical side. Many people in Turkey knew that Tatlises, whose name translates to "sweet voice", was reported to have ties to criminals, but loved him anyway because of his music, she said. The professor added Tatlises was not unlike Frank Sinatra in that respect, because the American singer also combined musical stardom with reported links to organised crime.

There was intense media speculation about who may have been behind the attack on Tatlises. Some news reports said Kurdish rebels may have been responsible, but there was no indication as to why the rebels would target Tatlises, and there was no official statement and no reaction from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a rebel group fighting for Kurdish self-rule since 1984.
Izzet Yildizhan, a singer and a friend of Tatlises, told the CNN-Turk news channel he suspected that Tatlises' business interests in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the singer has been involved in a housing project with Iraqi partners, were behind the attack. "All signs are pointing in that direction," he said.
Ibrahim Tatlises during a moment of reflection

Tatlises is one of my favorite singers. Just last December I wrote a couple paragraphs about him, reminiscing over a concert of his I saw in Russia back when I was a graduate student. This is what I wrote back then:
While I began admiring Ibrahim Tatlises' music early on in the 1990s, I didn't see him in concert until he came to St. Petersburg, Russia in the early winter months of 2004. I was over there doing dissertation research, having fled the frozen temperatures of Kazan for the relative warmth of the humid capital.

As part of the Fulbright grant I'd received, I was able to spend up to $3000 for language study. This was a great opportunity: in Kazan I read first printed, then various types of handwritten documents written in Arabic-script Tatar from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In St. Petersburg, I worked with a Persianist from St. Petersburg State University who was by nationality Azeri. She was the chairwoman of the Azeri Society of St. Petersburg, and they were somehow involved in the organization of the concert.

Ibo, as Ibrahim Tatlises is known, appeared in tandem with a forgettable Azeri singer named "Azeri Kizi." Apparently she'd had a couple of hits in Turkey.

Ibo completely undermined her. Apparently she hadn't been singing, but rather was using a CD. Ibo, with a mischievous glance to the audience, went over to a corner of the stage and started messing with her CD, then announced "CD bozuldu" ("the CD is messed up"). He went up to her and offered to sing a duet with her—one of her own songs—but Azeri Kizi refused.

Ibo then came out and performed for three hours. No CDs were used. A very hardworking man—he put on a hell of a show.
So yeah, he can be a jerk. And perhaps a killer in his own right, so...it's getting kind of difficult to feel bad for him, but still: he's a human being and a great artist.

And besides, all by himself Tatlises makes Turkey about 1.5% more fun to live in.

Our thoughts are with him in the Borderlands...
***More coverage below***

Updated, Tuesday, 8:13 pm, DC time

Global Perspectives: Ibo's condition "more positive, still critical." 

Hey Mehmet Ali Bey: he's not dead! 
Tuesday, 12:26 pm

Hide under the bed!: Hurriyet Daily Bugle sez culprits still at large!

The police seem to be making a big show of looking busy, as do the politicians (see below for Gul and Erdogan's involvement in this story).

From the Bugle:
The Istanbul Police Directorate has assembled 10 police teams involving 30 policemen to investigate the attack, for which no motive has been reported. As of Tuesday, police had questioned 110 people regarding the incident.
On the one hand, this is all sounding a little crazy and sad. So much manpower for one dude--and a singer, no less.

But of course, the issue behind many unsolved murders/attempted murders/etc. in Turkey isn't a lack of manpower anyway.

In fact, it's usually when the manpower is organized like this into teams that things get scary...

In any case, ahead of parliamentary elections in June, it makes sense for everybody to appear ahead of the game.
Tuesday, 9:23 am

Istanbul governor: Eleven bullets removed from Ibrahim Tatlises' head.

No word on how many of these bullets were in Tatlises' head prior to Monday's shooting.

Eleven bullets were removed from Tatlıses' head, the governor added, saying the exact time of the attack was 12:30 a.m. early Monday morning. "Our valuable singer İbrahim Tatlıses was subject to an armed attack after finishing filming on Büyükdere Street. I hope he gets well as soon as possible. We know that his condition has been steadily improving. We hope that this will continue in the hours ahead of us," Mutlu said

In this report, however, they say eleven shots were fired total, with only two hitting Tatlises.
"Eleven shots were fired," Mehmet Guclu, Tatlises' long-time manager and close friend, told SETimes. "Two bullets hit Tatlises, and another two hit his assistant."

Can't believe it took this long: you guessed it, Tatlises shooting linked to deep state forces.

First the Ergenekon gang killed Buckwheat, now they're after Ibo

Brother of Ibo claims Tatlises will never sing again--but what the hell does he know?

Trip down memory lane: Hurriyet Daily Bugle recounts the violent times of Mr. Sweetvoice.

A stunned fanbase responds. Readers from around the world bare their soul, comment on all things Ibo.

Also here.


Updated: 12:21 am

TrendAZ sez: Erdogan, Gul closely monitoring Tatlises durumu.

President of Turkey Abdullah Gul said on Monday that he closely followed developments in case of famous singer İbrahim Tatlises who had been shot in the head on Sunday, CNN Turk reported.
"I follow the topic closely. I hope he will recover soon," Gul told journalists at the joint press conference with his Croatian counterpart Ivo Josipovic.
And what about Croatian President Ivo Josipovic? What did he have to say about Tatlises?

Erdogan has reportedly called the hospital, too, apparently in an effort to remind the doctors to try to save Tatlises' life.

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