Turkey: TRT’s Eurovision return remains grim unless there are changes

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 1,957 views

TRT, the Turkish national broadcaster is reluctant to return to Eurovision unless there are changes in the contest. The broadcaster’s general manager Mr. Ibrahim Eren has shed  more light on Turkey’s future in the Eurovision Song Contest and potential return, sending the local media into a frenzy after his comments.

Many Eurovision fans are eagerly awaiting to see Turkey return to the Eurovision Song Contest. We last saw Turkey on the Eurovision stage in 2012 when Can Bonomo defended the Turkish colours in Baku.

Every year rumours surface regarding Turkey’s Eurovision comeback, but are later laid to rest as the Turkish broadcaster always refutes them and continues to stick to its decision of not returning to our beloved contest.

There has been much buzz in the Turkish media today after Mr. Ibrahim Eren‘s comment on Turkey’s Eurovision participation and potential return.

During a conference at Istanbul’s Ibn Haldun University, Mr. Ibrahim was asked if Turkey would return to the Eurovision Song Contest to which he made the following statement:

We don’t consider to rejoin the contest. We have reasons like the voting system. 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, and who does not believe in genders and says that he is both a man and a woman.

Last year Sertab Erener sparked rumours of a possible Turkish return to the contest. Hereafter the 2010 Turkish Eurovision hopefuls MaNga threw more fuel into the fire by posting a tweet hinting a Eurovision comeback.

TRT’s manager has put further rumours and speculation to rest, by stating that Turkey had no plans to return to the contest unless the contest changes.

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.

After Mr. Eren’s comments it is highly unlikely that we will see Turkey return to the Eurovision Song Contest next year either.

Why did Turkey withdraw?

Turkey withdrew from the competition in 2013 and has remained absent since, thus missing out the last 6 Eurovision editions.

Turkey decided to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013. TRT, the national Turkish broadcaster, announced in a communique on their official website on the 14 December 2012 that Turkey would not compete at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden.

The broadcaster’s reasons for withdrawing from the event in 2013 event were that the changes in the voting system of the contest: introduction of 50/50 jury and televoting deliberation, and the Big 5 rule, enabling Spain, Italy, the UK, France and Germany to automatically qualify every year for the final. The broadcaster expressed its discontent regarding these rules and felt they were not fair.

Turkey in Eurovision

Turkey debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975 and has won the competition once, namely  in 2003 with Sertab Erener‘s Every way that I can. The following year the Turks successfully hosted the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest in Istanbul with a record 36 countries

The country struggled in the competition in its early days but saw a sudden reversal of fortunes with the introduction of televoting in 1997, when Turkey achieved its first top 5 placing with Sebnem Paker‘s Dinle. Since then the Eurovision journey has been a happy one with a total of  9 top 10 placings.

The Turks have achieved a total of 6 top 5 placings in the contest in their 42 year history: 1 victory (2003), 1 2nd place (2010), 1 3rd place (1997), 3 4th places (1997, 2007 and 2009).

Can Bonomo represented Turkey at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku with his entry Love me back.

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