Turkish Internet phenomenon considers UN role

'Mahir' mania reaches new heights with Pac Man game, adult sites, pop song

Mahir Cagri, Turkish bachelor and the man behind of one of the Web's strangest success stories, spoke exclusively to ZDNet to confirm that, in response to popular demand, he is considering becoming a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

Cagri's site has become the subject of a startling degree of enthusiasm from around the Web, with "Mahir" mailing lists, a Mahir-based Pac Man game, Mahir adult sites and even a Mahir-inspired MP3 (a digital music format) track springing up around the Net over the past couple of weeks -- along with a sort of Mahir portal site providing a directory to it all.

The site was originally passed around as a joke because of its odd pictures and amusingly broken English, some of which turned out to have been created as a practical joke. (See 'Most popular homepage ever' denounced as a hoax .) But the Mahir fan phenomenon has now become so prominent that it's had full-page writeups in such distinguished journals as The Times.

The most recent twist has one group of Mahir acolytes petitioning for the globetrotting journalist, sometimes referred to on the Web as "Turkstud", to become a special United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.

Speaking through a translator whose grasp of English was unfortunately worse than Mahir's own, the Izmar-based ping-pong enthusiast said that he "very wants to be UN ambassador", saying it would be "very great and good".

Cagri is clearly undaunted by the magnitude of this possible new role and said he would like to "solve all problems of wars and starving children". Also continuing a theme of global goodwill Cagri revealed ambitious plans to "make all people to be brothers, sisters without any selection of country". Perhaps most movingly, however, was the disclosure that once named a UN ambassador, Cagri intends to do his utmost "to share the world with everyone".

Cagri also commented that he "likes very much" the new MP3 song written in his honour, although he wondered whether the creators had gained permission to use the lyrics for his now world-renowned Web page. The song is simply a reading of the page's text to a musical accompaniment.

When asked what the most significant impact of his rise to Internet stardom has been, Cagri answered, "I receive many sex-letters."