Turkey won’t return to Eurovision because of LGBT contestants

Turkey has ruled out a return to the Eurovision Song Contest until the show bans LGBT+ contestants.

The country was a staple at the pan-European music contest from 1975 up until 2012, when it abruptly withdrew citing disagreements with the rules.

In 2013, Finland’s entry Krista Siegfrids kissed a female backing dancer on stage as an equal marriage protest during her track Marry Me, which allegedly promted Turkey to scrap all broadcasts of the competition entirely.

2013 Finnish Eurovision entrant Krista Siegfrids gets mock-married to a woman onstage during her performance (JOHN MACDOUGALL/Getty)

Turkey has ruled out a return ever since, and this week TV bosses again confirmed the country would not be participating in 2019.

Ibrahim Eren, who runs Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), cited the show’s 2014 winner Conchita Wurst – an Austrian drag artist – as inappropriate to be broadcast on TV.

According to The New Arab, he said: “We are not thinking about taking part at the moment.

“As a public broadcaster we cannot broadcast live at 9pm, when children are watching, an Austrian with a beard and a skirt, who claims not to have a gender and says ‘I am a man and a woman at the same time’.

“There is some kind of confusion of mentality here… once this is corrected we will return to Eurovision.”

It is legal to be gay in Turkey but the LGBT community faces high levels of public stigma and oppression that has worsened under President Erdoğan.

Conchita Wurst (Thomas Lohnes/Getty)

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