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Why Have Turkey Withdrawn From Eurovision?

Last week the whole of the Eurovision community were full of Eastern promise as it seemed to look imminent that Turkey would at last rejoin the Eurovision family. The first rumour mill started with Sertab Erener earlier in the year who implied on a live Instagram Q & A session that Turkey would be back. She said, “I think TRT will start participating again next year at the Eurovision — I mean we as a country will participate. And that’s what I’m telling you from here. I hope the one who represents us will win the contest.” Last week MaNga who represented Turkey in 2010 tweeted a cryptic clue indicating that they would be back possibly. This led to them adding more fuel to the fire. This coupled with the likes of CNN Turkey, and Wikipedia all vying that Turkey would return, and that it would be officially announced by TRT soon sent fans into a bit of a frenzy. Just several days later though, the whole Eurovision community were left saddened that they would not be coming back any time soon. We look, and ask why is this?

A Tweet Appearing On MaNga's Twitter Account Led To Expectations Of A Return To Eurovision

1) The Turkish Government

Although the competition tries to stay away from politics. In Turkey's case this seems to be a little bit more difficult. As the Government does have a say in whether or not a participation would be possible. It has been reported that two days ago saw vice Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag met with members of TRT, with the outcome being less than what people desired. No official statement has been given saying that Turkey's government has been involved, but outside observers could not have failed to notice the deteriorating relationship between Turkey and the European Union. Although this being entirely speculatory, could this be a back ground reason as to why Turkey is not present?

2) TRT And The Cost Of A Participation

We have all seen countries such as Portugal, Andorra, Ukraine and Bosnia- Herzegovina pull out in previous years citing the growing costs of participating, combined with the background costs of sending an artist along with his or her team. TRT (Turkish broadcaster) have made no secret that this is one of their reasons for no longer participating. One of the criteria for the EBU charging a nation a fee is down to it's population size. It may seem fair that Russia pays more than San Marino (a micro state). Turkey doesn't share this sentiment, and deem their price tag to high. With a population over 79 million and one of the larger countries in the contest, TRT believe they certainly are not getting value for money.

3) TRT and "The Big 5"

The Turkish broadcasting company have stated this as another reason as to why they have been absent over the last several years, and continue to do so. They feel that this makes the competition unfair from the start, as it gives the big 5 a massive advantage of already qualifying for the final. They argue that having the "Big 5" does not put each nation on a same level footing. If Turkey's fee's are so high, shouldn't they be part of this exclusive club too?

4) TRT And The Jury Vote

When the Jury vote was re-introduced in 2009 that saw both Juries and Televoters given the chance to decide the winner. Turkey did not like this at all, and cried wolf. They have argued that since its introduction, the Jury vote has penalised Turkey. If there were no jury vote, the band Yüksek Sadakat would have qualified to the Grand Final in 2011.

Are Turkey Just Sore Losers? And Using The Juries As A Scape Goat?

To a certain extent it can be argued that Turkey may have a point. When you bring Yüksek Sadakat into the mix, and realise that during the 2009 contest Hadise too, was penalised by the juries. It can be seen that Turkey have a valued argument. However, they were present in 2012, and the Turkish nation came 7th, so it may be argued that the juries cannot be blamed for deliberately penalising the eastern state. Russia too, could have won in 2016 if it weren't for the juries holding Sergey back. However, they still participate. On the flip side of the coin Turkey has a large diaspora and will always do well with the viewing public. The United Kingdom, suffers the reverse, they tend to do well with the juries, but get pegged back with the public. The same happened to Australia this year too. It may just seem that they are bad losers.

Whatever happens now, we all know that these rumours did not come to volition. It will be inevitable that a year from now the rumour mill will be in full swing again, with many fans ultimately facing disappointment. Will Turkey be present anytime soon? At this stage the simple answer is a resounding "NO"

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