Turkey is Typing….the Eurovision Song Contest

While there may still be presidential protests expanding across Turkey, I thought that on this week's article we could diverge into some more important and entertaining prospects of Turkish culture….the Eurovision Song Contest! While Turkey came in fourth this year (Serbia placed first) many Turks still proclaim that Turkish singer Kenan Doğulu is still the winner for them!

The Turkish Invasion sums up the significance of the Eurovision Song Contest:

Along with the tragic defeat at gates of Vienna and the “other” half of Cyprus, Eurovision has been one of the issues that had a large and everlasting public audience in Turkey. Once a part of national pride (which was still in dispute to be a part of Europe or Asia), Eurovision Song Contest, which is originally a celebrative gathering of the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union with a semi-formal contest of songs representing each state, has become an arena (not only for Turks, but soon for every member) to prove the artistic leadership in Europe.

In spite of the hysteric audience and months of exhaustive preparations under heavy media coverage, the Turkish songs, which are originally far from being able to be liked by a normal homo sapiens, usually take the positions not far away from the bottom. Of course, the blame was always on the non-voting Europeans, our ultimate enemies in a hundred years old sacred alliance…After years of struggling and geting no positions close to Top 10, the public interest faded into the growing success of Turkish football through the slogans of “Europe, Hear Our Voice ” (sung in a rather threatening way). The Eurovision frenzy was only revived when a semi-competent song, sung in English over oriental rhytms, “Every way that I can” by Sertap Erener, won the first place, Turkey remembered its neverending feud with the Europeans in the artistic arena. I remember that Sertab was greeted by highest officials as a hero upon her return to country. In a country where nobel laureates are threatened not to come back, her welcome parade even overshadowed Galatasaray's UEFA Cup showdown.

Carpetblogger gives an excellent primer on the contest (and if you haven't already….just check out the Urkanian drag queen–definitely worth it!) and Mavi Boncuk posts a cartoon about Turkey's song “Shake it up, Sekerim”.

Of course the contest is not without its politics, Turkish Diary reports that Kenan Doğulu says that the vote went to Serbia for political reasons. Maybe some of that speculation can be answered as Erkan's Field Diary tries to explain how the voting works:

The national tele-voting system explicitly implies international relations and the Eastern European solidarity rules in the contest. The results could be read to demonstrate where Turkey stands. Turkey got the highest votes from the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany (all 12) and Austria, Denmark, Bosnia, Belgium, Albania, Switzerland and Macedonia (all 10). Finland, Romania, Norway, Georgia, Bulgaria, Sweden, Iceland, Russia votes btw 2-7. The highest votes are the direct result of Turkish citizens’ existence in those countries. The strategic target of this year's voting in Turkey's side was Armenia as she got 12 from Turkey whereas Armenia gave 0 to Turkey. With a few exceptions, Turkey does not receive votes from the Eastern European countries…

In any case, “Shake it up, Sekerim” is stuck in my head and refuses to leave.

Top Links of the Week
1. Tarkan DeLuxe links to the BBC's latest on Turkey's pop culture and diplomacy.
2. Turkish Business writes about Istanbul's new skyscraper soon to be built at the cost of 150 million dollars…it will be the country's largest.
3. Me and Others tries to trick the gender genie on his blog.
4. Idil from Ignore Me If You Can talks about summer plans.


  • The Serbian presentation was a horror show. Singing was excellent, especially the lead singer.. but the tennis shoes? the androgeny? the un-tucked shirt?
    It’s Pat! (reference the Saturday Night Live character from the 90s)
    Look at me! I’m unattractive, I’ve stopped trying, the women behind me look beautiful, my voice redeems my appearance.. Uh… No. At least slick your hair back, tuck in your shirt and wear a pair of black wingtip shoes. You want to look like a man that’s your business, but winning the competition looking like a slob- that’s just too much for me to stay quiet about.

  • Since when has Eurovision been about singing. It’s about popularity and nationalist followers who vote for their fellow countrymen in large numbers. Take a look at Turkey’s entry. He and his song normally wouldn’t be allowed on the showroom of a cruise ship complete with B-grade performers. It’s all politics.

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