Turkey's emerging economy makes it prime real estate for American brands and celebrities wishing to make their mark and increase their audience size, but Korean culture is also catching on quickly in the increasingly industrialized nation. On Feb. 4, Turkish tweeters flooded the site with declarations of love for Korean Pop (KPop) music and the words Turkey Wants KPop, while all-American pop star Katy Perry received a significantly slower trickle of tweets from her Turkish fans.
The International Monetary Fund noted Turkey's rapidly growing economy in 2007, and since then the country has continued to develop. The country is home to over 70 million people, according a 2012 survey by Turkey's Address-Based Recording System, and 26 percent of that population is 14 years old or younger. This Internet-savvy generation of Turks are using their computers and phones to explore cultures around the world, rather than simply accepting what is spoon-fed to them, and a large chunk of the pre-teen demographic is flocking to South Korean culture. Despite the fact that Korean pop culture is not being actively exported to the region, Turkish boys and girls are watching Korean movies and television online, downloading KPop songs, and even starting Korean culture clubs where they discuss the country, study the language and plan to travel to South Korea.
KPop CDs are not available for sale in Turkey, so fans are forced to download the music illegally, but they say they would prefer to pay for the albums if they could, reported the Korean Herald in an article covering the rise of KPop and Korean culture in Turkey.
Traditionally, the Turkish people have been more interested in the West over the East. As far back as the founding of the modern Turkish Republic, the country's elite has focused on learning Western languages and culture.
In 2009, a group of Koreaphiles started the Low Korea Community, which now boasts members ranging in age from teenagers to 50-year-olds. The group's leaders use the Internet to stay up to date on Korean culture, and Korean-language classes are offered.
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In order to convince KPop groups to perform in Turkey, one fan group organized a flash mob to dance along to a song by KPop group Super Junior.
We got the idea from Paris, Iren Akgun told the Korean Herald, referencing a flash mob organized in France to convince a KPop group to plan a second concert after the first sold out a few minutes after going on sale.
KPop has been growing in popularity around the world. The catchy and energetic songs are ubiquitous in Asia and have been making some serious inroads in the United States recently, including a sold-out Madison Square Garden showcase, recent performances on American television, and Billboards launching a top 100 chart for Korean Pop.