In 2013, TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) announced Turkey’s withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Competition. Eurovision was an event that everyone in Turkey waited impatiently for, and it was very disappointing that we had to let it go. People still follow the contest with interest, but there’s a hopeless wish in everyone’s mind about Turkey coming back to Eurovision. Not just Turkish people, but foreigners also often ask where Turkey is and when it’s coming back.
At first, TRT’s reasoning for Turkey’s withdrawal was that the voting was unfair. But in 2018, head of TRT, İbrahim Eren stated that Turkey won’t come back until the LGBT representation ends. “As a public broadcaster, we cannot broadcast live at 9 pm, when children are watching, an Austrian with a beard and a skirt, who claims not to have a gender and says ‘I am a man and a woman at the same time.” were his words. He added that Europe has wandered away from their moral values, and Turkey would come back if the confusion was corrected.
There were many great performances in Turkey’s Eurovision adventure, and in this shorticle we’ll take a walk down memory lane with some of these.
Seninle Bir Dakika, (meaning “A Minute With You”), was the first song Turkey participated with in Eurovision, in 1975. Although 46 years have passed since this song was on Eurovision, it is much more remembered than most of the old songs that represented Turkey in the contest.
According to Milliyet author Ali Eyüboğlu’s statements in 2021, there were conflicts between TRT and the government regarding Hadise’s Eurovision costume for the performance, which is based on a traditional belly dancer costume, and he added that TRT decided not to send women to compete in Eurovision after 2009.
Hadise’s performance of “Düm Tek Tek” is the clearest memory I have of watching Eurovision live. I was on a school trip in 5th grade, and we stayed up all night to watch Hadise perform. As a little girl who was dreaming of becoming a singer, I remember feeling very empowered watching a strong Turkish woman perform in Eurovision.
To end the shorticle on a hopeful note, TRT announced in June 2021 that they are in touch with Eurovision, and there is a possibility of Turkey returning to the contest. I hope in the near future, we’ll hear some good news about it.
Öykü Demir is a music and cinema enthusiast who is studying mechanical engineering in Middle East Technical University. After studying violin in Ankara State Conservatory, she took part in the Company Musicals, METU’s Musical Theatre Club, as music director, actor and translator. After being away from the art community for some time, she is excited to unlock the gates of brand new genres with Turquazz.
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