Eurovision fans, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Turkish broadcaster TRT are worried about the situation in Istanbul after car bombs exploded on different places in the city for the second time within a week. Some of the fans think the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, which is planned to take place in Istanbul, has to “move to a more secure location”.
A number of powerful explosions ripped through the British consulate and a London-based bank near a shopping mall in Istanbul today, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 450. Eye witnesses said the blasts were caused by car bombs, news broadcaster CNN International reported.
On the esctoday.com forum fans talk about the terror attacks. Also on mailing lists discussions are continuing about the security during the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, and esctoday.com has received several concerned emails from fans. “I probably won't feel comfortable when I go to Istanbul to watch the show”, one of them said. “I think that the Eurovision Song Contest should move to another city”, someone else suggested.
Others think that the contest should not be moved, because “in every place there is a risk to get involved with a terror attack nowadays (…) The goal of these terrorists is to mess up social life and we should do everything we can to behave as usual”. In 1999, when the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Jerusalem, some were worried about security too and nothing happened.
Esctoday.com asked the EBU for a reaction on the current situation in Istanbul. Svante Stockselius, Executive Supervisor of the contest, said to esctoday.com: “we are of course deeply worried of the terror attacks in Istanbul and will follow the development closely together with the host broadcaster TRT. We will not make any hasty decisions, but now the issue of safety and security will be even more important”.
Tomorrow (Friday) the EBU Reference Group for the Eurovision Song Contest will hold a telephone conference subject to the bombings. Stockselius will travel to Istanbul in two weeks to discuss the general progress of the production and security will now be a main issue in these discussions.
Stockselius garantuees that they “will work closely with TRT and the authoritys in Turkey to secure the contest and the safty of the delegations and the audience”. As far as it concerns now, moving the contest to another location is not an issue.