Turkey: EBU’s statement regarding TRT’s Eurovision boycott

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 2,774 views

Following TRT’s recent comments on Turkey’s Eurovision participation,the European Broadcasting Union has given a statement to news agency Reuters, responding to the Turkish broadcaster’s boycott.

Earlier this week Mr. Ibrahim Eren (TRT General Manager) spoke about Turkey’s Eurovision participation and future during a conference in an assembly in Istanbul, citing that the country would not return to the competition if gay and transgender acts would continue to partake in the contest, clearly refering to the 2014 Austrian Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst.

Mr Ibrahim Eren (TRT General Manager) commented:

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.

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.

Eurovision and LGBT

The Eurovision Song Contest has a long tradition of LGBT presenters and performers and is well known for being inclusive and celebrating diversity.

Israel’s Dana International became the first transgender performer to win the competition in 1998 when Eurovision was held in Birmingham.

In 2014 Conchita Wurst conquered Europe with her entry Rise like a phoenix, giving Austria its second Eurovision victory. Wurst is now an international gay rights icon having gained much respect and recognition globally. She has credited the Eurovision Song Contest for being a bubble of inclusivity and respect.

EBU’s response

A spokesperson from the EBU gave Reuters the following statement regarding TRT’s latest comments on its Eurovision boycott:

The Eurovision Song Contest’s values are of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music.

TRT has made a huge contribution to the contest in the past, including hosting the event in Istanbul in 2004, and we would very much welcome them back should they decide to participate again.

Turkey in Eurovision

Turkey debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975 and has won the event once in 2003 with Sertab Erener‘s Every that I can.

TRT withdrew from the competition in 2013 citing its discontent with the new voting system and the BIG 5 rule and has not returned to the contest since. The country’s Eurovision return seems quite grim at the moment.