Turkey competed at Eurovision for the last time in 2012 and since then fans have been keen to see 2003 winners back. Now the general manager of broadcaster TRT has spoken on the subject of Turkey’s return and has explained why the broadcaster is staying away.
İbrahim Eren, the general manager of the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, recently spoke out on the subject at a panel discussion at İbn Haldun University.
Hurriyet Daily News reports that Eren told the audience that it all came down to performers like Conchita Wurst — who won Eurovision two years after Turkey withdrew.
Eren explained, “As a public broadcaster, we also cannot broadcast live at 9 p.m. — when children are still awake — someone like the bearded Austrian who wore a skirt, do not believe in genders and says that he is both a man and a woman.”
Since Conchita’s appearance at Eurovision 2014, there have been no gender-blurring bearded drag performers competing in the song contest, let alone run-of-the-mill drag queens.
Eren also reiterated Turkey’s dissatisfaction with the Eurovision voting system and the 50/50 televote/jury split. When Turkey withdrew from Eurovision, they claimed this was the primary reason they were unhappy with the song contest. He said, “We don’t consider to rejoin the contest. We have reasons like the voting system.”
Despite the broadcaster’s unhappiness, since the televote/jury voting system was introduced in 2009, Turkey enjoyed three top-ten finishes, including maNga’s second-place finish in 2010.
Eren also claimed that other countries had followed Turkey’s lead and withdrawn from the song contest. He said:
“I have told the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on the Eurovision issue that they deviated from their values. As a result, other countries also left Eurovision. There is a mental chaos at the EBU because of its executives. If they can fix it, we can join Eurovision again.”
In reality, in recent years only Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have withdrawn from the contest on a long-term basis. In both cases, the broadcasters have confirmed this has been for financial not political reasons.
Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest
Turkey debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975 and was a regular competitor until its withdrawal after 2012.
Turkey’s best result was in 2003 when Sertab Erener won with the ethnobop “Everyway That I Can”. Turkey then hosted the song contest the following year.
More recently, Turkey placed second in 2010 when rock band maNga placed second with “We Could Be the Same”.
Before its withdrawal, Turkey was considered a power nation of Eurovision. In its last decade, Turkey placed in the top ten seven times.
While Turkey does not compete at Eurovision, there’s nothing stopping Turkish acts from competing for another country. In 2016, Turkish television host Serhat performed at Eurovision representing San Marino.
Should Turkey return to Eurovision? Should the EBU ensure that sexually ambiguous bearded drag queens no longer enter the contest? Sound off below!
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