ISTANBUL, Oct. 31 (Korea Bizwire) – K-pop five-man group F.T. Island touched down at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on October 28 and was greeted by hundreds of excited fans calling out members’ names and holding placards, a scene Turkish media reported as causing severe congestion at the airport.
The individual members and supporting staff emerged from the quarantine sector to be greeted by a cacophony of screams.
One of the young women among the crowd later told a Turkish journalist, “For the last few years I have been translating F.T. Island’s songs into Turkish while running an F.T. Island fan club. I have also hosted events to increase the group and their song’s exposure.” A young woman next to her chimed in, gushing, “F.T. Island’s songs are really, really good,” adding, “We are fans for life.”
F.T. Island arrived in Turkey for an evening concert the next day that was attended by 5,000. The group’s welcome and the success of its concert is surprising, as Turkey, compared to countries throughout Southeast Asia and South America, does not have as large a community of K-pop fans, though there are signs that interest in K-pop is rising.
Visits by K-pop artists to Turkey have been few and far in between since last year’s failed coup d’état and occurrences of terrorist activity.
Meanwhile, Turkish news reportage of the airport scene was generally one of bemusement, featuring quotes like, “I don’t know why Turkish girls are so excited about Korean pop music” and “Outside, no one would have any idea who they [F.T. Island] are.”