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Turkish Who's Who

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All the Turks we've grown to love
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The Famous Person
The person's occupation, vocation, activity, calling, career, job, metier, rank, preoccupancy, craft, profession, sport, trade, profession, work, organization, etc.
Famous/infamous events
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Barış Manço

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(30kb)

Popular singer-performer, song-writer, TV presenter, celebrity -- and unofficial Turkish Ambassador-at-Large

Teen Idol Barış
A cross between
Elvis and James Dean...

Bariş Manço (Baris Manco, Mancho) as a 15-year-old teen idol.
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and legibility.

Dağlar Dağlar
Manço performs his 'favorite child'
Bariş Manço (Baris Manco, Mancho) performs his hit song, 'Dağlar Dağlar' (Daglar Daglar)
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and legibility.

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In this Manço Photo Novel
Barış woos heroine Güngör Bayrak

Learn Practical Turkish Language -- Encyclopedic Dictionary of Who's Who in Turkey, news photo
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only on CD/Broadband Editions.


There's no doubt that Barış Manço (born January 2, 1943) was one of the brightest, most talented, and successful performer-celebities in modern Turkish history. And he was also extremely civic-minded, naturally good-hearted, and universally well-loved. His (official) biography (both on and off-stage) reads like a heroic story-book character.

Born at the height of WW II, his parents named their new son 'Peace' (Barış) -- placing in him their hopes for the future. And, he seemed in one sense to lead a charmed life. Just consider this short-listing of his achievements and successes...

1) a seminal Turkish Anatolian-rock musician and writer/composer of more than 200 published pop-songs -- including Turkey's first-ever million-seller song-hit (the ballad Dağlar Dağlar; Mountains Mountains) in 1970. Which is an extraordinary record-sales achievement when you consider that, back in those days, the total Turkish population only numbered about 40 million souls -- not all of whom were pop-music fans, we hasten to add! (See Barış performing Dağlar Dağlar's simple haunting lyrics at left -- written as he made a lonely trek back from the far-eastern Turkish town of Keban all the way to Istanbul, by dolmuş! And click the speaker-icon to hear a song clip, also at left). By the way, Barış' compositions have been translated into Greek, Bulgarian, Arabic, Farsi, Japenese, Hebrew, French, English, and Flemish.

2) a successful film actor (with film credits such as Süper BabaAnne and Baba Bize Eversene)

3) a Photo-Novel star (shown at left in FotoRoman Jönü with heroine Güngör Bayrak -- a minor but beautiful actress of her day)

4) a prize-winning TV producer and presenter... His first successful family-oriented TV series 7'den 77'ye (From 7 to 77) which took Barış' Turkish audiences some 600,000 kilometers around the world, to more than 100 different locations, on 5 continents, during the series' ten-year span -- ran for 378 episodes, and broke all existing Turkish TV records. His second follow-on series, the enormously popular Adam Olacak Çocuk (Grow up to be somebody!), a children's quiz-show (on which he famously and easily got star-struck kids to eat spinach and drink milk on national TV), so dominated its TV time slot that Turkey seemed to 'go on break' every time the program went 'on air'.

5) a loving husband and dedicated family man -- he and his lovely, ever-supportive wife Lale (they married in 1980) had two handsome sons (Batıkan and Doğukan) and were frequently seen together in and out of the public-eye. Barış himself won the Father of the Year Award in 1995.

6) an esteemed 'unofficial' Turkish Ambassador -- who received more than 300 honorary awards at home and abroad...Barış was so popular with his Japanese fans and audiences that he seriously considered adopting Japan as his second homeland...

But, his life was far from charmed in another sense -- in that Barış was never free of nagging accident and health problems. Consider this disturbing chronology...

1) 1979 -- Barış a victim (along with Lale) of a serious auto accident, caused by a tire/tyre blow-out along a quiet country road, which totally demolished their car -- and left the two of them in plaster-casts for months.

2) 1985 -- Barış required an operation to relieve an unspecified internal organ problem.

3) 1982, 1991, 1999 -- Manco's weak heart-condition surfaced during a series of recurring heart attacks...

And then there are the 'facts' (and the hushed-up questions) that still haunt his mysterious death... One thing is certain. Manco died of heart failure sometime during the late night of 31 January or the early morning of 1 February 1999.

But... it's been devilishly rumored that the final fatal attack was induced as Barış experimented with Viagra -- while he was in the arms (it is further and more fantastically rumored) of his then-current young mistress cum groupie-lover.

Until the scandalous rumors surrounding his death, Manco's private life and reputation had never been tainted -- or even questioned. But, it seems rather likely now (as more and more facts have slowly come to light) that the attractive and enormously charismatic Barış had a long-standing semi-secret 'underground' love-life, about which his wife Lale was well aware.

Lale even implied as much (while being closely questioned by reporters about Barış' alleged mistress, subsequent to the disclosure of the viagra rumors after his death) -- when she said something to the effect that "Barış had many female admirers, and he himself was a man with affection to spare."

Note: The mini-article above is based on several sources but is especially reliant for graphical material on the Tempo Magazine -- Barış Manço Supplement, published February 1999.

Mustafa Kemal

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See Atatürk... 
Zeynep Merkit

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One of a kind, but...
without a sponsor

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First and (at the moment in 2004) only female driver on the Turkish Rally Car CircuitIn the news: 31 March 2004...With just a few days remaining before the first competitive rally of the season (the annual Aegean Rally -- beginning 10 April this year), Merkit finds herself without a sponsor. Holder by default of the Türkiye Bayanlar Ralli Şampiyon title, the only female driver on the rough-road circuit (and mother of two) is feeling down and almost out. Fiat Arbath Motorspor (the three-year veteren's largest contributing sponsor during her entire racing career) recently cut off support for Merkit due to 'lack of female customers for our products'. In Competition Year 2003, Merkit placed 18th in the field of 70 drivers on the Turkish Rally Car Circuit.
Zeki Müren
The Pasha
in his prime

Zeki Müren, 'The Pasha' in his prime
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  • To: Zeki Müren in the Turkish Movies Catalog

  • Turkey's all-time favorite 'Sanat Muzik' performer, Müren was also a prolific Art Music songwriter -- and a film star to boot. Although he was linked romantically with a number of leading-ladies and starlets (most notably Ajda Pekkan) in his early career, the 'Pasha' (as he came to be known by friends and fans alike) emerged further and further from 'the closet' as his career progressed -- and as fame innoculated him from public judgement. The 'Sun of Art' (as he was also known) was born 6 December 1931 in Bursa and died in 1996 during a ceremony in his honor at the TRT Studios in Izmir.
    It was Müzeyyen Sener who first dubbed Zeki Bey, The Pasha.

    With Adja Pekkan
    (exchanging one of the
    weakest kisses we've ever seen
    between supposed lovers)

    before he opened the closet door for good.
    Learn Practical Turkish Language -- Encyclopedic Dictionary of Who's Who in Turkey, news photo
    Click large!

    Editor's Personal Note: When I first saw Zeki Müren on stage at the Gölbaşı Gazinosu in Ankara in 1974, he was in his Turkish Art Music prime -- but totally unknown to me. My lady friend, Selda had begged me repeatedly to take her to a Müren performance and when I finally gave in, she swooned. On performance night, she insisted that we leave home two hours before showtime -- and on the way to the olympic-sized night club, she stopped the taxi at a flower shop and hit me up for a bouquet of two dozen roses -- not for her, but for Zeki Bey! When the maitre d' at the club ushered us to the best front row table adjoining the performer's gangway, I understood why the tickets had cost so much -- even by my USD$ standards. After what had seemed to me to be an interminable wait, when the lights finally dimmed, the band struck its first thunderous notes of classical Turkish Sanat Muzik. And when The Pasha appeared in full regalia from behind the luminous gold curtain, Selda's eyes rolled back in her head -- and that was the last she pretended to know of me until the Pasha's final bow. She threw the roses wildly and adoringly at his feet as he approached nearby -- and when he reached down to touch her hand, she vibrated visibly in ecstasy. I was astonished by the transformation of this adult female businesswoman into a quivering mass of teenybopper emotion. But when I turned and looked at the sea of male and female faces in the audience, Selda's was but a mirror of the rest. I had been a first-hand witness to the Zeki Müren Effect.
    Zeki Müren's unabashed onstage presense was sometimes a leetle exagerrated...
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