A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Turkvision - a good idea?

I think it is fairly safe to assume that Turkey is in no hurry to come back to the Eurovision Song Contest. Copenhagen seems to be completely ruled out and the future doesn't look too bright either for fans of Turkish eurosongs.

TRT is still claiming to be upset about the current rules, how the juries seem to be keeping the Turkish entries down in the ranking and - the latest thing that transpired - how they feel Turkey lacks influence at the EBU. Oh dear.

So instead of trying to court Europe and insist on changes being made to the ESC format, TRT decided to stage their own song contest instead.

Copyright: TRT

Why not? A song contest, slightly modelled on the ESC, to bring the various Turkic people together in friendly competition. That can't be all bad. Can it?

It depends what your goal is, of course.

Turkey has been spending quite a lot of time and effort to market their own progress in the fields of democracy and human rights. With that in mind, it seems strange to snub the EBU - with their current discussions of perhaps adding a human rights index of some sort to the participation criteria - for a new set of best friends with rather different views on the matter.

Countries like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan all have very poor human rights records and oppressive regimes. Inviting them to an international event can only give these regimes a chance to shine and do their best at coming across as respectable and acceptable. Why would you want to do that?

Also, allowing Northern Cyprus to take part under their own flag is a problematic move. So be it that this contest is aimed squarely at a Turkic audience, but Turkey is the only country in the world to recognise this republic as an independent country.

In short, Turkey's new choice of playmates doesn't look great from a political point of view.

Maybe this can still be a musically interesting event where will get sights and sounds from countries we seldom interact with and know very little about, but attaching too much attention to Turkvision will also contribute to promoting and normalising an unpleasant thing or two.

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