Turkey to return to Eurovision song contest in 2016: state TV
ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse
One of Turkey’s top pop divas, Sertab Erener, came first in the contest in 2003.In case anyone feared the Eurovision song contest had lost a little of its sequined luster in recent years, then despair no more - Turkey is coming back.
Absent from the glitzy competition for the last three years, Turkey will rejoin Eurovision for the 2016 edition of the contest, the country’s public broadcaster said on Feb. 6.
State-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) withdrew from Eurovision after the 2012 contest, citing low ratings and dissatisfaction with the voting rules. In 2013, TRT launched its own version of Eurovision, dubbed “Turkvision,” which follows the same guidelines as the annual European song contest.
However, TRT chief Şenol Göka said the broadcaster would return to the Eurovision competition in 2016, as most of Turkey’s concerns, including “a lack of moral standards,” have been addressed.
“There were problems with not just the voting system, but also with moral standards. We had voiced criticism at the absence of these things,” he was quoted as saying by daily Milliyet.
“But there have been significant improvements on these issues... Our demands will be met and we will return,” he said.
Turkey had harshly criticized the competition’s current “Big-5” ruling, which states that Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are guaranteed a place in the final, no matter how they performed the year before.
But many observers said that Turkey had dropped the event in protest of what it sees as a moral decline in the competition.
The decision to withdraw from the Eurovision competition came just after Sweden, the host of the 2013 competition, showed two male Swedish folk dancers kissing during rehearsals.
EU Minister Volkan Bozkır caused a furor last year when he lauded his country’s withdrawal from the competition after seeing Austria’s bearded transvestite Conchita Wurst win the 2014 contest.
“Each time I look at the Austrian who won the Eurovision Song Contest, I say ‘Thankfully, we’re not participating in this contest anymore,’” he said.
One of Turkey’s top pop divas, Sertab Erener, came first in the contest in 2003, after decades of disappointment for Turkey. The country’s last entry was singer Can Bonomo, who placed seventh in 2012 with the song “Love Me Back.”