She’s the Turkish pop star who secured her country its first, and so far only, win at Eurovision with her eye-popping performance of “Everyway That I Can” in 2003.
And now Sertab Erener continues to grab headlines, this time by fuelling speculation that Turkey will return to Eurovision in 2018.
The singer made the claim — which has not been confirmed by Turkish broadcaster TRT — in a recent Instagram Live session.
“How do you feel about being the first Turkish woman who won Eurovision?” she’s asked.
“What can I say..I’m very happy,” she says. “I think TRT will start participating again next year at the Eurovision — I mean we as a country will participate. And that’s what I’m telling you from here. I hope the one who represents us will win the contest.”
“But on the other side I hope it will not happen so I can stay the first person to win the Eurovision for Turkey. And of course this Eurovision time is very stressful. I do not know who will represent us but I wish him luck, patience. It is very important to have a nice song.”
Turkey infamously withdrew from Eurovision back in 2013, citing their displeasure with the mixed jury/televote scoring system and the status and immediate qualification rights of the Big Five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom).
Turkish fans have grown slightly more hopeful in recent weeks following staff changes at TRT.
Ibrahim Eren, the broadcaster’s new general director, is thought to have a more international outlook than his predecessors.
At the time of his appointment, he made that much clear on Twitter.
“TRT will continue its goal of being active in Turkey and in the world with its production and publications based on national culture.”
Former artists, including Eurovision 2009 star Hadise, have subsequently made public calls for the country to return to the contest.
On May 16, Eurovision 2009 singer Hadise shared a photo from her performance on Instagram, along with the following caption.
I hope my beautiful country will again participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. 8 years ago today I was on the stage during the finals and I still feel the energy I felt that day when I got on stage and saw our beautiful Turkish flag in everyone’s hands.
TRT has not confirmed or denied Sertab’s comments and fans seem hopeful that she may have spilled the beans.
Surely if anyone outside of the broadcaster knows anything, it would be her — a national icon who is very well-placed in the music industry.
In any case, are you hopeful that Turkey is on the road back to ESC? Do you think Sertab make such a big statement if it wasn’t true? Or was she just being hopeful? Let us know in the comments box below.