Turkey’s president says ‘social corruption’ of Eurovision is a threat to families

Turkey's President took aim at Eurovision. (Getty)

To many, the Eurovision Song Contest is a celebration of the queer community and music. But Turkey’s president believes that the harmless competition show is a threat to families.

On 20 May, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hit out at the annual music event, accusing the organisers of encouraging “gender neutralisation” and threatening Turkish families due to the competition show rightly allowing a platform for LGBTQ+ performers

In a speech following a Cabinet meeting in the European country, Erdogan called the show’s participants “Trojan horses of social corruption”, and affirmed his government’s decision to remove Turkey from the pop contest since 2012. 

According to NBC News, he claimed: “At such events, it has become impossible to meet a normal person.

“We understand better how we made the right decision by keeping Turkey out of this disgraceful competition for the past 12 years,” he said.

His speech appeared to take a dig at this year’s participants, including the Eurovision Song Contest’s 2024 winner, Swiss non-binary singer Nemo. The star became the first non-binary competition winner in 2024 with their song “The Code”, an operatic pop-rap track which details the singer’s identity journey. 

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Eurovision is often hailed as a haven for LGBTQ+ viewers. (Getty)
Eurovision is often hailed as a haven for LGBTQ+ viewers. (Getty)

The annual competition has often been hailed as a haven for LGBTQ+ people for its unashamed queerness and visibility in its contestants, supporters, and songs.

Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party has become less tolerant of LGBTQ+ rights in recent years, claiming that they are walking on the path of the “holy family”. 

Erdoğan’s government and its supporters have increasingly employed anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in recent years – often citing family values for their lack of inclusivity.

He even delivered an anti-LGBTQ+ speech at his re-election speech last year.

The president told voters at the time: “In this nation, the foundations of the family are stable. LGBT will not emerge in this country.”

Erdoğan added: “Stand up straight, like a man: that is how our families are.”

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