Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest


Member station Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT)
National selection events
Appearances 34 (33 finals)
First appearance 1975
Last appearance 2012
Best result 1st: 2003
Worst result Last: 1975, 1983, 1987
Nul points: 1983, 1987
External links
TRT page
Turkey's page at Eurovision.tv
For the most recent participation see
Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012

Turkey participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 34 times from their debut in 1975 with the song "Seninle Bir Dakika" performed by Semiha Yankı, to their withdrawal in 2013. Turkey has always qualified for the grand final, except the 2011 Contest, since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004.

Since their debut in the two years Turkey finished last (1983 and 1987), they scored "nul points". Before 1997, the country's only top ten result was achieved by Klips ve Onlar, who placed ninth in 1986. Turkey achieved six top five results between 1997 and 2010; winning once in 2003 with the song "Everyway That I Can" by Sertab Erener, narrowly defeating Belgium by two points. In 2004, the home entry in Istanbul, "For Real" by Athena, placed fourth. In 2007, "Shake It Up Şekerim" by Kenan Doğulu also finished fourth. In 2008, the band Mor ve Ötesi placed seventh. In 2009, Hadise achieved another impressive result for Turkey, finishing in fourth place. In 2010, the nu metal band maNga, achieved Turkey's second best result in the contest, finishing second.

Since the introduction of the free language rule (1997) as well as televoting (1999), Turkish entries had much more success than in previous years. In 1997, Turkey finished third with the song "Dinle" by Şebnem Paker, who sung all the song in Turkish. The country sent a song partially in English for the first time in 2000 and completely in English in 2003, the winning entry of that year. Since 2000, Turkey has had seven entries completely sung in English and four bilingual songs. TRT hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Abdi İpekçi Arena, which is located in Istanbul and it was the first time that the Contest had two televised shows, with one semi-final held on Wednesday and the grand final held on the following Saturday.

TRT announced on 14 December 2012 that they would not attend the 2013 competition in Malmö, Sweden citing dissatisfaction with the rules of the competition.[1] In September 2013, Turkey's state broadcaster stated a return is unlikely for the 2014 competition, citing the same reasons.[2][3] Despite the rumours of the country's return, Volkan Bozkır, a member of Turkish parliament from the conservative government party AKP, reported during a press conference that Turkey would no longer participate in the contest after Conchita Wurst's victory in 2014.[4] Also there was no television broadcast on TRT in 2013 (reason cited as Finland's lesbian kiss in several places) and 2014, for the first time since the 1973 Contest.[5][6][7]



National broadcasting service of Turkey, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), was one of the charter members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1950 along with eighteen countries around Europe including a North African state, Tunisia. As an intercontinental (with lands in Eastern Thrace and Western Asia) and Occidental country, Turkey take part in lots of Westerner organisations including their NATO membership in 1952 and associate membership in the European Economic Community in 1959.

Test transmissions started on TRT 1 on 31 January 1968. A full national television schedule, which at that time linked the areas in and around Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir, started in December 1971. TRT renewed its membership in the European Broadcasting Union (having been a founding member previously offering only radio) starting on 26 August 1972 with Turkey's first Eurovision Network event, a football match (Turkey vs. Italy), on 13 January 1973. Turkish national broadcaster televised the Eurovision Song Contest between 1973 and 2012 incessantly, even in the years that they weren't participating (1973–74, 1976–77, 1979 and 1994).


Turkey debuted to the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1975 Contest, which is the 20th edition of the Contest and held in Stockholm, Sweden. Greece did not participate in the 1975 Contest for "unknown reasons" according to the EBU, but it was discovered that the withdrawal was in protest of Turkey's debut and its invasion of Cyprus in 1974.[8][9] TRT organized a national final for select the first ever Turkish entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest. The final took place on 9 February 1975 in the studios of TRT and hosted by Bülend Özveren. The winning song was picked by averaging the ranks from the professional jury and people's jury as "Seninle Bir Dakika" (literally "A minute with you") by Semiha Yankı. At the close of voting the song had received only 3 points from Monaco and placed last.

In 1976, Greek entry aroused controversy as it was about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. This time Turkey withdrew from the Contest to protest the political background of the entry of Greece, "Panagia Mou, Panagia Mou". Turkey televised the final on 3 April 1976 but censored the Greek entrant's performance and played a nationalist Turkish song titled "Memleketim" (literally "My motherland", is the Turkish cover of Yiddish folk song "Rabbi Elimelekh") which was one of the symbols of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in Turkey. Turkey didn't take part in the Contest until 1978.

The 1979 Contest was held in the Israeli capital, Jerusalem. Turkish entry selected as "Seviyorum" (literally "I'm in love") by Maria Rita Epik but Arab countries (are the Eastern neighbours of Turkey) compelled the Turkish government to withdraw from the Contest because of Arabs state of war with the host country, Israel. So Turkey withdrew from the Contest for the third time in 1979.


In 1980, Turkish superstar Ajda Pekkan selected internally by TRT and the song, "Petrol" through a national final. Pekkan placed 15th with 23 points, including the first ever twelve points received by Turkey from Morocco. Turkey participated to the Eurovision Song Contest in the eighties incessantly. And had their best result (until 1997) in the Eurovision Song Contest 1986, when Klips ve Onlar placed 9th with the total of 53 points in Bergen, Norway. The country scored "nul points" for two times in the eighties also, one in 1983 (shared with Spain) and the other one in 1987. The Contest has seen the most famous artists of Turkey in the eighties including Ajda Pekkan, Neco, Candan Erçetin and MFÖ.


Early 1990s the Contest wasn't popular in Turkey after Kayahan, one of the most famous singers of country placed 17th place in a set of 22 participating countries with 21 points. After Kayahan's failure Turkey mostly had unknown entrants or amateur singers (except 1991 and 1995) until 2003. Şebnem Paker, represented the country in two consecutive years, first time being in the 1996 Contest where she qualified to the final and placed 12th and in the 1997 Contest she ranked 3rd with the song "Dinle" (literally "Listen") after the United Kingdom and Ireland respectively. Turkey reached to the top ten second time since 1986 and first time to the top three, so that was the most successful result that the country ever had in the Eurovision Song Contest until their victory in 2003. Şebnem Paker returned to the Turkish national final in 1998 but placed 4th in the national final and couldn't qualify for the Contest as the Turkish representer in the third consecutive year; Tüzmen represented the country and placed 14th. Turkey participated all the series of the contest in nineties except the 1994 edition, which they relegated from participating because of their 21st place in 1993.

2000s and 2010s

Sertab in the opening of the 2004 Contest.

From the late 1990s to early 2000s, with the participation of the other Eastern European countries and the victory of Sertab Erener with the song "Everyway That I Can", the Contest has grown into one of the most popular events in Turkey. TRT selected the Turkish entry through an internal selection mainly organised by OGAE Turkey in 2003, after Sertab's victory (except 2004 and 2005) Turkish entries to the Contest picked internally. Turkey had always qualified to the grand final, except the 2011 Contest in Düsseldorf, since introduction of the semi-finals in 2004 and always reached to the top ten, except 2005 and 2006 until their last ever participation in 2012.

Along with their northwestern neighbours Greece, Turkey brought the Contest a new outlook with flashy stage performances and dresses on their oriental/Mediterranean flavoured pop music products (Sertab Erener, Sibel Tüzün, Kenan Doğulu and Hadise). In 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011, the country represented by bands, mostly being with rock influenced songs with a background of Ottoman, Eastern European and Balkans' instruments. Athena ranked 4th in 2004, when the contest was held in Istanbul; Mor ve Ötesi ranked 7th with a song completely in Turkish in 2008 and the nu metal band maNga, which named as the Best European Act in MTV Europe Music Awards 2009 ranked 2nd in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 respectively. Although Yüksek Sadakat in 2011 placed 13th in the first semi final of contest and failed to qualify, that was the first and only time that Turkey didn't qualify for the grand final. In 2012 Turkey participated to the Eurovision Song Contest for last time so far with the song "Love Me Back" completely sung in English by newcoming artist Can Bonomo, which qualified and placed 7th in the final with 112 points.

Withdrawal and controversy

TRT announced their withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 on 14 December 2012, citing dissatisfaction with the rules of the competition and has yet to return.[1][2][3] The article which reports the reason of withdrawal has some deficiency; according to TRT, the mixed jury/televote voting system (which introduced in 2009) introduced in 2011, where Turkey didn't qualify for the final.[10] Media opposed to the conservative government party AKP and some LGBT organisations in Turkey claimed that decision was because of the Contest's homosexual content which is not tolerated by the Islamic background of that political party.[11] TRT did not televise either the 2013 and 2014 Contests for the first time (the national channel has broadcast the contest even in the years that Turkey was not participating) since 1973. In 2013, the reason cited was Finland's lesbian kiss and 2014 the Austrian drag entrant Conchita Wurst.[5][6][7] In May 2014 Volkan Bozkır, a member of the Turkish parliament from AKP, reported during a press conference that Turkey will no longer participate in the contest after Wurst's victory in 2014 and had homophobic statements.[4][11] On September 5 the General Manager of TRT, İbrahim Şahin, officially announced that Turkey would not return to 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.[12] On 3 November 2015 it has been officially announced that Turkey wouldn't return to the contest in 2016 either.[13]


Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
1975 Semiha Yankı Turkish "Seninle Bir Dakika" 19 3 No semi-finals
Did not participate between 1976 and 1977
1978 Nilüfer and Grup Nazar Turkish "Sevince" 18 2
1979 Maria Rita Epik and 21. Peron Turkish "Seviyorum" Withdrewa
1980 Ajda Pekkan Turkish "Petrol" 15 23
1981 Modern Folk Trio and Ayşegül Turkish "Dönme Dolap" 18 9
1982 Neco Turkish "Hani?" 15 20
1983 Çetin Alp and The Short Waves Turkish "Opera" 19 0
1984 Beş Yıl Önce, On Yıl Sonra Turkish "Halay" 12 37
1985 MFÖ Turkish "Diday diday day" 14 36
1986 Klips ve Onlar Turkish "Halley" 9 53
1987 Seyyal Taner and Lokomotif Turkish "Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne" 22 0
1988 MFÖ Turkish "Sufi" 15 37
1989 Pan Turkish "Bana Bana" 21 5
1990 Kayahan Turkish "Gözlerinin Hapsindeyim" 17 21
1991 İzel, Reyhan and Can Turkish "İki Dakika" 12 44
1992 Aylin Vatankoş Turkish "Yaz Bitti" 19 17
1993 Burak Aydos Turkish "Esmer Yarim" 21 10
1994 Did not participate
1995 Arzu Ece Turkish "Sev" 16 21
1996 Şebnem Paker Turkish "Beşinci Mevsim" 12 57 7 69
1997 Şebnem Paker and Grup Etnik Turkish "Dinle" 3 121 No semi-finals
1998 Tüzmen Turkish "Unutamazsın" 14 25
1999 Tuba Önal Turkish "Dön Artık" 16 21
2000 Pınar Ayhan and Grup SOS Turkish, English "Yorgunum Anla" 10 59
2001 Sedat Yüce Turkish, English "Sevgiliye Son" 11 41
2002 Buket Bengisu Turkish, English "Leylaklar Soldu Kalbinde" 16 29
2003 Sertab Erener English "Everyway That I Can" 1 167
2004 Athena English "For Real" 4 195 Host country
2005 Gülseren Turkish "Rimi Rimi Ley" 13 92 Top 12 Previous Yearb
2006 Sibel Tüzün Turkish, English "Süperstar" 11 91 8 91
2007 Kenan Doğulu English "Shake It Up Şekerim" 4 163 3 197
2008 Mor ve Ötesi Turkish "Deli" 7 138 7 85
2009 Hadise English "Düm Tek Tek" 4 177 2 172
2010 maNga English "We Could Be the Same" 2 170 1 118
2011 Yüksek Sadakat English "Live It Up" Failed to qualify 13 47
2012 Can Bonomo English "Love Me Back" 7 112 5 80
Did not participate from 2013 to 2017
a. ^ The 1979 Contest was held in the Israeli capital Jerusalem. In the beginning TRT selected an entry via a national final but the Arab countries (which are the Eastern neighbours of Turkey) compelled the government withdraw from the Contest because of Arabs state of war with the host country, Israel.
b. ^ If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition, back in 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.

Voting history

As of 2012, Turkey's voting history is as follows:

Most points given in the grand finals only
Rank Country Points
1  Bosnia and Herzegovina 129
2  United Kingdom 126
3  Ireland 119
4  Spain 118
5  Germany 86
Most points received in the grand finals only
Rank Country Points
1  Germany 170
2  France 151
3  Netherlands 132
4  Belgium 108
5   Switzerland 104

Most points given in the semis and finals
Rank Country Points
1  Bosnia and Herzegovina 175
2  United Kingdom 126
3  Ireland 124
4  Spain 118
5  Sweden 97
Most points received in the semis and finals
Rank Country Points
1  Germany 208
2  France 190
3  Netherlands 168
4   Switzerland 154
5  United Kingdom 143


Year Location Venue Presenters
2004 Istanbul Abdi İpekçi Arena Korhan Abay and Meltem Cumbul

Marcel Bezençon Awards

Further information: Marcel Bezençon Awards

Press Award

Year Song Performer Final Result Points Host city
2003 "Everyway That I Can" Sertab Erener 1st 167 Riga

Commentators and spokespersons

Prior to 2012 every contest Turkey had taken part in had always been commentated on by Turkish television presenter Bülend Özveren, with the exception of 1982–1985, 1990–1991, 1998–2001 and 2007. In addition Özveren also co-commentated the contest in 1979, 2004, 2011 and 2012. Out of the 38 years Turkey have broadcast the event Özveren has commentated on 29 of them making him 9 years short of being the Contest's longest commentator.

Year(s) Commentator Spokesperson
1973 Bülend Özveren Turkey did not participate
1975 Bülent Osma
1976 Turkey did not participate
1978 Meral Savcı
1979 Turkey did not participate
1980 Başak Doğru
1982 Ümit Tunçağ
1983 Başak Doğru Fatih Orbay
1986 Gülgün Feyman Ümit Tunçağ
1987 Canan Kumbasar
1988 Bülend Özveren
1990 Başak Doğru Korhan Abay
1991 Canan Kumbasar
1992 Bülend Özveren Korhan Abay
1993 Ömer Önder
1994 Turkey did not participate
1995 Ömer Önder
1998 Ömer Önder Osman Erkan
1999 Gülşah Banda
2000 Ömer Önder
2001 Meltem Ersan Yazgan
2002 Bülend Özveren
2004 Didem Tolunay and Bülend Özveren
2005 Bülend Özveren
2007 Hakan Urgancı
2008 Bülend Özveren
2011 Bülend Özveren and Erhan Konuk Ömer Önder
20132017 No broadcast Turkey did not participate

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest

Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points Place (2003) Points (2003)
2003 Sertab Erener English "Everyway That I Can" Failed to qualify 9 104 1 167

See also


  1. 1 2 Jiandani, Sanjay (14 December 2012). "Turkey will not go to Eurovision in Malmö". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  2. 1 2 N., Danny (14 September 2013). "Turkey: 'No plans to return' under current system". escXtra. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  3. 1 2 Jiandani, Sanjay (7 November 2013). "Turkey: TRT will not participate in Eurovision 2014". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  4. 1 2 Granger, Anthony. "Turkey: "Will No Longer Participate" In Eurovision". Eurovoix. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  5. 1 2 "TRT, Eurovision'u yayınlamaktan vazgeçti!" (in Turkish). Gazetecell. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  6. 1 2 Morgan, Joe; Littauer, Dan. "Turkey cancels Eurovision Song Contest over lesbian kiss". Gay Star News. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  7. 1 2 Kandok, Halil. "Gays Won, TRT Lost Again!". KAOS GL. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  8. "EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 1975" (in Greek). OGAE Greece. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  9. Raycoff, Ivan; Robert Deayom Tobin (July 2007). A Song for Europe. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-5878-8.
  10. "Türkiye Eurovision'da yok" (in Turkish). ntvmsnbc. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  11. 1 2 Und die Türkei? "Will Turkey participate finally?" Check |url= value (help). eurovision.de.
  12. Jiandani, Sanjay (5 September 2014). "Turkey: TRT confirms no return to Eurovision in 2015". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  13. Jiandani, Sanjay (3 November 2015). "Turkey: TRT confirms non participation in Eurovision 2016". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
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