Turkey urged to broadcast Eurovision following TV station cancellation over lesbian kiss

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Turkey’s official television station has been urged by human rights groups to broadcast the final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday, following reports that it had cancelled the broadcast due to a lesbian kiss by Finland’s act on Thursday.

Following the second set of semi-finals last night, Finland’s Eurovision entrant Krista Siegfrids found herself with a place in the final, following her performance of her pro-equal marriage song, which included a lesbian kiss.

Siegfrids insisted that her song ‘Marry Me’ was not political, but did go on to say that she did want to make a statement about the lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriages in Finland. Organisers forbid “lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature”.

When an interviewer asked how Siegfrids thought viewers in countries such as Belaruse and Azerbaijan might react to her performance she said: “I think that everybody should have the right to do that. It’s no big deal, it’s not big deal to me. It’s a show, and it’s about love and love is beautiful in any form.”

The TRT station claimed that the cancellation of the broadcast was due to low ratings, but last year a quarter of Turkish households tuned in to watch.

All Out has launched a petition urging the President of the European Broadcasting Union to address the issue, and to ensure that Eurovision would “uphold the values of unity and love”, as opposed to censoring Krista’s performance.

In the first hour it was live, the petition gathered over a thousand signatures, it has now received the support of over 8,000 people.

“All Out members are not fooled by Turkey’s weak excuse,” Andre Banks Co-founder and Executive Director of All Out said, “It is clear to the world that Turkey pulled the popular Eurovision show simply because two women expressed love through a kiss. Nothing could be more harmless than a kiss between two people.” 

“The Eurovision kiss was not revolutionary. Turkish people already saw a kiss between two women on television. Two women kissed during the 2012 Olympics and that kiss was broadcast on Turkish TV,” Andre Banks said, “The world kept turning and the sun came up the next day. Love should never be feared, it is censorship we should fear.”