It is hardly an understatement to say that Turkey struggled during their first twenty-five years in Euroland. Whatever star performers or hit choruses they sent in kept coming back home largely ignored and with a minimum of points to their names.
In the 80's, Turkish television started to look for qualified help in order to make their own entries more appealing. The song that won the national final was sent off to some music company (often in Germany) that would add a helping touch here and there.
Some years, they did far more than just the odd fine tuning. Some years they added long segments, cut whole verses out and - in severe cases - added a hook or a whole chorus.
Watch and compare for yourself. How would the original versions have fared at Eurovision?
1984 - Luxembourg
Bes yil once, on yil sonra - Halay (Turkey 1984 national final)
Most of this song is fully recognisable from the national final, but recieved a somewhat softer arrangement and a less busy choreography. And - a chorus, including a handle for the juries to hold on to. Result - a 12th place, which was the best Turkish showing until then.
Bes yil once, on yil sonra - Halay (Turkey 1984 eurovision version)
1986 - Bergen
Klips ve Onlar - Halley (Turkey 1986 national final)
For some reason, I can only find a very short clip of the national final version of this one but I think you will get the big picture. This entry is, in short, a complete mess. A heap of good ideas thrown together with no structure and nothing in particular going for it.
The musical helpers slowed down the pace considerably and added a very contemporary sound to the final arrangement, which resulted in Turkey's first ever top ten showing.
Klips ve Onlar - Halley (Turkey 1986 eurovision version)
1988 - Dublin
MFÖ - Sufi (Turkey 1988 national final)
This is a schoolbook example of how little it takes to turn something promising into something really good. These two versions are not so far apart, really. What is added is - again - a more modern touch to the sound as well as a distinctly oriental flavour and an instrumental hook most europeans would understand as typically Turkish.
The final version also has a better flow and sounds more melodic and catchy. It was quite rightly mentioned as a dark horse and possible outside at Eurovision, before finishing in a most disappointing 15th place.
MFÖ - Sufi (Turkey 1988 eurovision version)
1990 - Zagreb
Kayahan - Gözlerinin hapsindeyim (Turkey 1990 national final)
The first minute is almost the same, only the arrangement is different - more pompous and old-fashioned than the final version - but then the original throws itself head first into a difficult, un-catchy chorus. The production company would have nothing of it and cut it all out, replacing it with a much simpler singalong, still with a slightly oriental feel.
This was not a huge success and ended in 17th place in Zagreb, but I suspect the original version would have fought it out in a battle for the very last places.
Not bad, but in no way user friendly.
Kayahan - Gözlerinin hapsindeyim (Turkey 1990 eurovision version)