Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest

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

Member stationTurkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT)
National selection events
National final
  • 1975
  • 1978
  • 1980 (song)
  • 1981–1993
  • 1995–2002
  • 2004 (song)
  • 2005
Internal selection
  • 1980 (artist)
  • 2003
  • 2004 (artist)
  • 2006–2012
Participation summary
Appearances34 (33 finals)
First appearance1975
Last appearance2012
Highest placement1st: 2003
Nul points1983, 1987
External links
Turkey's page at Eurovision.tv
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012

Turkey finished last on its debut at the contest in 1975, and went on to finish last with nul points in 1983 and 1987. They reached the top ten for the first time in 1986. Şebnem Paker achieved the country's first top five result in 1997, finishing third with the song "Dinle". The country went on to achieve five more top five placements after the introduction of the free language rule and televoting, with Sertab Erener giving Turkey its first victory in 2003 with the song "Everyway That I Can". Turkey's other top five results are Athena (2004), Kenan Doğulu (2007), Hadise (2009), who all finished fourth, and Manga (2010), who finished second.

The Turkish broadcaster TRT announced in December 2012 that they would not participate in the 2013 contest, citing dissatisfaction with the rules of the competition.[1] 2013 was the first time since 1973 that there was no television broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest on TRT. In September 2013, TRT stated a return is unlikely for the 2014 contest, citing the same reasons.[2][3] As of 2023, they are yet to return to the contest having stated similar reasons for their absence each year.


Turkish Radio and Television Corporation involvement in the Eurovision Song ContestEdit

The national broadcasting service of Turkey, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), was one of the founding members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in 1950 along with eighteen countries around Europe, including Tunisia. As an intercontinental country (with lands in Eastern Thrace and Western Asia), Turkey takes part in a multitude of Western organizations including NATO as of 1952 and the European Economic Community as an associate member as of 1959.

TRT televised the Eurovision Song Contest between 1973 and 2012, even during years in which Turkey was not participating in the contest.


Turkey made its debut at the 1975 contest in Stockholm, Sweden. Greece did not take part in the contest for "unknown reasons" according to the EBU, but it was later revealed that the withdrawal was in protest of Turkey's debut and their invasion of Cyprus in 1974.[4][5] TRT organized a national final to 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 was hosted by Bülend Özveren. The winning song, "Seninle Bir Dakika" ("A minute with you") by Semiha Yankı, was picked by averaging the ranks from the professional jury and people's jury. At the close of voting during the contest, the song received only three points from Monaco and placed last.

In 1976, Greece's entry to the contest aroused controversy due to its subject matter being the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Turkey withdrew from the contest to protest the political background of Greece's entry, called "Panagia Mou, Panagia Mou." Turkey televised the final on 3 April 1976 but censored the Greek entrant's performance. They played a nationalist Turkish song titled "Memleketim" ( "My motherland", the Turkish cover of the Yiddish folk song "Rabbi Elimelekh"), which was one of the symbols of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in Turkey.

Turkey did not take part in the contest again until 1978, placing 18th with the song "Sevince" performed by Nazar and Nilüfer.[6]

The 1979 contest was held in Jerusalem. The Turkish entry selected was "Seviyorum" ("I'm in love") by Maria Rita Epik. However, Turkey withdrew from the contest due to pressure from neighboring Arab countries to do so, which arose from the ongoing controversy regarding the status of Jerusalem.


Turkey participated in the Eurovision Song Contest consistently throughout the 1980s. In 1980, Turkish superstar Ajda Pekkan and the song "Petrol" was selected by TRT through a national final. Pekkan placed 15th with 23 points, including the first ever score 12 points received by Turkey, coming from Morocco.

Turkey had their best result (until 1997) in the 1986 contest in Bergen, Norway, when Klips ve Onlar placed ninth with a total of 53 points. The country scored nul points twice in the eighties, first in 1983 (shared with Spain) and later in 1987. Several famous Turkish artists performed for the contest during the 1980s, including Ajda Pekkan, Neco, Candan Erçetin and MFÖ.


The contest's popularity in Turkey suffered after Kayahan, one of the most famous singers in the country, placed 17th out of 22 participating countries with 21 points. After Kayahan's poor result, Turkey's Eurovision entrants were mostly unknown or amateur singers until 2003.

Şebnem Paker represented the country in two consecutive years. The first time being in 1996 where she qualified for the final and placed 12th, and the second in 1997 where she placed third, behind the UK and Ireland, with the song "Dinle" ("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 the top 10 for a second time since 1986, and landed in the top three for the first time, making it the most successful result for the country until its victory in 2003. Şebnem Paker returned to the Turkish national final in 1998, but placed fourth and did not qualify for the contest as the Turkish participant for a third consecutive year. Tüzmen represented the country and placed 14th. Turkey participated throughout all of the 1990s except for the 1994 contest, from which they were relegated due to their 21st-place finish in 1993.

2000s and 2010sEdit

Sertab Erener (left) and Demir Demirkan (right), winning songwriters of the 2003 contest.

In the late 1990s to early 2000s, the contest became one of the most popular events in Turkey as a result of the participation of other Eastern European countries, and Sertab Erener's win in 2003 with the song "Everyway That I Can". Following the introduction of televoting in 1998, (initially trialed in 1997 and first implemented in Turkey in 1999), Turkey went on to achieve eight top 10 results in the contest.

"Everyway That I Can" was the first Turkish entry in the contest to be sung completely in English. TRT selected the entry through an internal selection mainly organised by OGAE Turkey.

The 2004 contest was held in the Abdi Ipekci Arena, with the first-ever semi-final held on 12 May, followed by the final on 15 May. After Erener's victory (with the exception of the 2004 and 2005 contests), Turkish entries to the contest were chosen internally. Turkey had always qualified for the final (except for the 2011 contest in Düsseldorf) since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004 and always reached the top ten, except in 2005 and 2006. From 2000, Turkey had seven songs sung in English and four sung in both English and Turkish, with just three (2005, 2006 and 2008) songs sung entirely in Turkish.

Along with Greece, Turkey brought the contest a new outlook with flashy stage performances and dresses alongside their oriental/Mediterranean-flavoured pop music acts (Sertab Erener, Sibel Tüzün, Kenan Doğulu and Hadise). In 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011, the country was represented by bands, most of them with rock-influenced songs with Ottoman, Eastern European and Balkan instruments. Athena ranked fourth in 2004, when the contest was held in Istanbul; Mor ve Ötesi ranked seventh with a song completely in Turkish in 2008 and the nu metal band Manga, named the Best European Act in the MTV Europe Music Awards 2009, ranked second in 2010. Yüksek Sadakat in 2011 placed 13th in the first semi-final of the contest and failed to qualify, marking the first and only time that Turkey failed to qualify for the final. In 2012, Turkey participated for the last time as of 2023 with the song "Love Me Back" by Can Bonomo, which placed seventh in the final with 112 points.


TRT announced it would not participate in the 2013 contest on 14 December 2012, citing dissatisfaction with the rules of the competition; it has yet to return.[1] TRT cited the changes to the televote voting system, in which a jury was introduced and the significance of televoting decreased by 50%.[7][8][9]

Turkey has not participated in or broadcast the contest since 2013.[10][11][12] In August 2018, İbrahim Eren, the Director-General of TRT, stated that TRT does not plan to return to the contest and break the boycott for various reasons, citing Conchita Wurst's participation and eventual victory in 2014.[13][14]

In June 2021, it was confirmed by both the EBU and Eren that they were in talks about the country potentially returning to the contest in the future.[15] Despite this, Turkey was not on the final list of participants for the 2022 contest, published in October 2021.[16]

Participation overviewEdit

Table key
Second place
Third place
Last place
Entry selected but did not compete
Year Entrant Song Language Final Points Semi Points
1975 Semiha Yankı "Seninle Bir Dakika" Turkish 19 ◁ 3 No semi-finals
1978 Nilüfer and Nazar "Sevince" Turkish 18 2
1979 Maria Rita Epik and 21. Peron "Seviyorum" Turkish Withdrawn[a] X
1980 Ajda Pekkan "Pet'r Oil" Turkish 15 23
1981 Modern Folk Trio and Ayşegül "Dönme Dolap" Turkish 18 9
1982 Neco "Hani?" Turkish 15 20
1983 Çetin Alp and the Short Waves "Opera" Turkish 19 ◁ 0
1984 Beş Yıl Önce, On Yıl Sonra "Halay" Turkish 12 37
1985 MFÖ "Didai Didai Dai" Turkish 14 36
1986 Klips ve Onlar "Halley" Turkish 9 53
1987 Seyyal Taner and Lokomotif "Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne" Turkish 22 ◁ 0
1988 MFÖ "Sufi" Turkish 15 37
1989 Pan "Bana Bana" Turkish 21 5
1990 Kayahan "Gözlerinin Hapsindeyim" Turkish 17 21
1991 İzel Çeliköz, Reyhan Karaca and Can Uğurluer "İki Dakika" Turkish 12 44
1992 Aylin Vatankoş "Yaz Bitti" Turkish 19 17
1993 Burak Aydos "Esmer Yarim" Turkish 21 10 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
1995 Arzu Ece "Sev" Turkish 16 21 No semi-finals
1996 Şebnem Paker "Beşinci Mevsim" Turkish 12 57 7 69
1997 Şebnem Paker and Grup Etnik "Dinle" Turkish 3 121 No semi-finals
1998 Tüzmen "Unutamazsın" Turkish 14 25
1999 Tuba Önal and Grup Mistik "Dön Artık" Turkish 16 21
2000 Pınar Ayhan and the S.O.S. "Yorgunum Anla" Turkish[b] 10 59
2001 Sedat Yüce "Sevgiliye Son" Turkish[b] 11 41
2002 Buket Bengisu and Group Safir "Leylaklar Soldu Kalbinde" Turkish[b] 16 29
2003 Sertab Erener "Everyway That I Can" English 1 167
2004 Athena "For Real" English 4 195 Host country[c]
2005 Gülseren "Rimi Rimi Ley" Turkish 13 92 Top 12 in 2004 final[d]
2006 Sibel Tüzün "Süper Star" Turkish[b] 11 91 8 91
2007 Kenan Doğulu "Shake It Up Şekerim" English 4 163 3 197
2008 Mor ve Ötesi "Deli" Turkish 7 138 7 85
2009 Hadise "Düm Tek Tek" English 4 177 2 172
2010 Manga "We Could Be the Same" English 2 170 1 118
2011 Yüksek Sadakat "Live It Up" English Failed to qualify 13 47
2012 Can Bonomo "Love Me Back" English 7 112 5 80
  1. ^ The 1979 contest was held in the Israeli capital Jerusalem. Although TRT had selected an entry via a national final, Turkey ultimately withdrew because Arab countries (one of them, Syria, being its southern neighbour) pressured the Turkish government to withdraw from the contest because of the dispute over the Status of Jerusalem.
  2. ^ a b c d Contains phrases in English.
  3. ^ If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year.
  4. ^ According to the then-Eurovision rules, the top ten non-Big Four countries from the previous year along with the Big Four automatically qualified for the Grand Final without having to compete in semi-finals. For example, if Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the 11th and 12th spots were advanced to next year's Grand Final along with all countries ranked in the top ten.

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song ContestEdit

Entrant Song Language At Congratulations At Eurovision
Final Points Semi Points Year Place Points
Sertab Erener "Everyway That I Can" English Failed to qualify 9 104 2003 1 167


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


Marcel Bezençon AwardsEdit

Year Category Song Performer Final Points Host city
2003 Press Award "Everyway That I Can" Sertab Erener 1 167   Riga


Year Conductor[a] Notes Ref.
1975 Timur Selçuk [17]
1978 Onno Tunç
1979 Tuğrul Karataş [b]
1980 Atilla Özdemiroğlu [18]
1981 Onno Tunç
1982 Garo Mafyan
1983 Buğra Uğur
1984 Selçuk Başar
1985 Garo Mafyan
1986 Melih Kibar
1987 Garo Mafyan
1988 Turhan Yükseler
1989 Timur Selçuk
1990 Ümit Eroğlu
1991 Turhan Yükseler
1992 Aydın Özarı
1993 No orchestra
1995 Melih Kibar
1996 Levent Çoker
1998 Ümit Eroğlu

Commentators and spokespersonsEdit

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 Commentator Spokesperson Ref.
1973 Bülend Özveren Did not participate
1975 Bülent Osma
1976 Did not participate
1978 Meral Savcı
1979 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 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
20132023 No broadcast Did not participate


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ All conductors are of Turkish nationality unless otherwise noted.
  2. ^ Karataş was announced as the Turkish conductor prior to their withdrawal.


  1. ^ a b Jiandani, Sanjay (14 December 2012). "Turkey will not go to Eurovision in Malmö". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Archived from the original on 2012-12-17. 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. ^ OGÜNhaber. "TRT, Eurovision'u yayınlamaktan vazgeçti!". OGÜN Haber - Günün Önemli Gelişmeleri, Son Dakika Haberler (in Turkish). Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  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. ^ "Final of Paris 1978". Eurovision Song Contest. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  7. ^ "Türkiye Eurovision'da yok" (in Turkish).
  8. ^ "TRT won't accept the Big 5 and high participation fees".
  9. ^ "Why Have Turkey Withdrawn From Eurovision?".
  10. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (5 September 2014). "Turkey: TRT confirms no return to Eurovision in 2015". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  11. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (3 November 2015). "Turkey: TRT confirms non participation in Eurovision 2016". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  12. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (7 August 2017). "Turkey: TRT confirms non participation in Eurovision 2018". Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  13. ^ "TRT Genel Müdürü'nden Eurovision açıklaması". ABC Gazetesi. 4 August 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Turkey to return Eurovision 'if no more bearded divas'". Hurriyet. 4 August 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  15. ^ Washak, James (2021-06-24). "Turkey: EBU Confirms Discussions With TRT Regarding Return to the Eurovision Song Contest". Eurovoix. Retrieved 2021-06-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "REVEALED: the 41 countries joining Eurovision in Turin 2022". Eurovision.tv. EBU. 20 October 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-10-20. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  17. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2014). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Vol. Two: The 1970s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 142–168. ISBN 978-1-84583-093-9.
  18. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (2016). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Vol. Three: The 1980s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84583-118-9.

External linksEdit