Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest

Member station Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT)
National selection events
Participation summary
Appearances 34 (33 finals)
First appearance 1975
Last appearance 2012
Best result 1st: 2003
Worst result Last: 1975, 1983, 1987
Nul points: 1983, 1987
No qualification: 2011
External links
TRT page
Turkey's page at Eurovision.tv
For the most recent participation see
Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012

Turkey has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 34 times since making its debut in 1975. Since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, the only year that Turkey participated and failed to advance to the final was in 2011. Turkey has won the contest once, in 2003 and hosted the 2004 contest in Istanbul.

Turkey finished last on its debut at the contest in 1975, went on to finish last with "nul points" in 1983 and 1987, and only reached the top ten in one of its first 18 attempts at the contest between 1975 and 1996 (1986), before Sebnem Paker achieved the country's first top five result in 1997, finishing third with "Dinle". Turkey would go on to achieve five more top five placements after the introduction of the free language rule and tele-voting, with Sertab Erener giving Turkey its first victory at the 2003 contest with the song "Everyway That I Can", narrowly defeating Belgium by two points. Turkey's other top five results are Athena (2004), Kenan Doğulu (2007), Hadise (2009), who all finished fourth, and the nu metal band maNga (2010), who finished second.

TRT announced in December 2012 that they would not attend the 2013 contest in Malmö, citing dissatisfaction with the rules of the competition.[1] 2013 was the first time since the 1973 contest that there was no television broadcast on TRT. In September 2013, TRT stated a return is unlikely for the 2014 competition, citing the same reasons.[2][3] As of 2018, Turkey has yet to return to the contest.



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 country (with lands in Eastern Thrace and Western Asia), Turkey takes 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.[4][5] 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 placed third, behind the UK and Ireland, with the song "Dinle" (literally "Listen"), sung in Turkish. After the free language rule was re-introduced in 1999, the first Turkish entry to be partially sung in English, was at the 2000 contest. 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 fourth in the national final and didn't qualify for the Contest as the Turkish participant for a 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

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. Following the introduction of televoting in 1998, (first trialled in 1997 and first used by Turkey in 1999) Turkey went on to achieve eight top ten results in the contest, having previously made the top ten in 1986 and 1997. Erener's song was the first Turkish entry in the contest to be sung completely in English. TRT selected the Turkish entry through an internal selection mainly organised by OGAE Turkey in 2003. The 2004 contest was held in the Abdi Ipekci Arena, with the first ever semifinal held on Wednesday 12 May, followed by the final on Saturday 15 May. After Erener'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 participation (as of 2018) in 2012. From 2000, Turkey had seven songs sung in English and four sung in both English and Turkish, with just two (2005 and 2008) being sung entirely in Turkish.

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] According to TRT, the changes to the televote voting system, in which a jury is introduced and the significance of televoting decreased by 50%, have been made to boost the already fallen ratings of the show due to the bad results obtained by the BIG 5, that have been participating in the finals without having to go through the semi-finals, to create an unfair advantage even when they were receiving bad results.[6][7][8] 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. On September 5 the General Manager of TRT, İbrahim Şahin, officially announced that Turkey would not return to 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.[9] On 3 November 2015 it was officially announced that Turkey wouldn't return to the contest in 2016 either.[10]In August 2017, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister told journalists that Turkey would not enter the 2018 contest[11] In August 2018 İbrahim Eren, the General Manager of TRT, said that at the moment the broadcaster was not considering returning to the contest for various reasons, including Conchita Wurst's victory for Austria in 2014.[12][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 2019
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:


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

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
1973Bülend ÖzverenTurkey did not participate
1975Bülent Osma
1976Turkey did not participate
1978Meral Savcı
1979Turkey did not participate
1980Başak Doğru
1982Ümit Tunçağ
1983Başak DoğruFatih Orbay
1986Gülgün FeymanÜmit Tunçağ
1987Canan Kumbasar
1988Bülend Özveren
1990Başak DoğruKorhan Abay
1991Canan Kumbasar
1992Bülend ÖzverenKorhan Abay
1993Ömer Önder
1994Turkey did not participate
1995Ömer Önder
1998Ömer ÖnderOsman Erkan
1999Gülşah Banda
2000Ömer Önder
2001Meltem Ersan Yazgan
2002Bülend Özveren
2004Didem Tolunay and Bülend Özveren
2005Bülend Özveren
2007Hakan Urgancı
2008Bülend Özveren
2011Bülend Özveren and Erhan KonukÖmer Önder
20132019No broadcastTurkey did not participate


Prior to 1999, the Turkish entry was performed without orchestral accompaniment in 1993.[14]

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. Jiandani, Sanjay (7 November 2013). "Turkey: TRT will not participate in Eurovision 2014". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  3. {{cite web|title=TRT, Eurovision'u yayınlamaktan vazgeçti!
  4. "EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 1975" (in Greek). OGAE Greece. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  5. Raycoff, Ivan; Robert Deayom Tobin (July 2007). A Song for Europe. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-5878-8.
  6. December 2012 "Türkiye Eurovision'da yok" Check |url= value (help) (in Turkish).
  7. August 2017 ""TRT won't accept the Big 5 and high participation fees" Check |url= value (help).
  8. August 2017 ""Why Have Turkey Withdrawn From Eurovision?" Check |url= value (help).
  9. Jiandani, Sanjay (5 September 2014). "Turkey: TRT confirms no return to Eurovision in 2015". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  10. Jiandani, Sanjay (3 November 2015). "Turkey: TRT confirms non participation in Eurovision 2016". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  11. Jiandani, Sanjay (7 August 2017). "Turkey: TRT confirms non participation in Eurovision 2018". Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  12. "TRT Genel Müdürü'nden Eurovision açıklaması". ABC Gazetesi. 4 August 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  13. "Turkey to return Eurovision 'if no more bearded divas'". Hurriyet. 4 August 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  14. http://andtheconductoris.eu/
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