Republic Day in Turkey - Turkey’s Five Most Iconic Eurovision Entries
Today October 29 is ‘Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayrami)’ in Turkey. It is a public holiday that commemorates the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, which occurred on October 29 in 1923, declared by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Turkey made its debut in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975 and appeared 34 times. They withdrew in 2013 and have since not returned. From 1975 to 2002 Turkey had varying degrees of success. Out of 24 entries only three made it to the top 10. Their best result at the time was in 1997 which came in at third place. They had a huge turning point in 2003 when they won the Contest and then over the decade after their win they reached the top 10 seven times.
In celebration of Turkey’s Republic Day we look back at five of their most iconic entires.
In the last decade before they withdrew from the Contest, their songs were more predominantly Turkish inspired pop bangers and rock. Selecting just five iconic songs was rather difficult so honourable mentions go to Kenan Dogulu’s “Shake It Up Sekerim”, More ve Ötesi’s “Deli” and the big banger and one of my favourites “Süperstar” by Sibel Tüzün.
5. Athena - For Real (4th place - 2004)
Athena had fun and positive energy radiating from their 2004 performance of “For Real”. The band was internally selected and their song was chosen through a national final with an overwhelming response. “For Real” is ska-punk (a fusion of ska and punk rock music which usually features brass instruments), at its core. Athena’s 4th place achievement remains the best placed entry from a host nation since Azerbaijan hosted in 2012 and finished in 4th place with “When the Music Dies” by Sabina Babayeva.
4. Sebnem Paker and Grup Etnik - Dinle (3rd place - 1997)
This memorable love song has a really catchy chorus and together with Sebnem Paker’s powerful voice and traditional instruments makes for a nice sounding combination. It was Turkey’s best result at the time in Eurovision and their first time in the top 5 after 19 years in the Contest. It remains their best placed Turkish language song in the Contest.
3. Hadise - Düm Tek Tek (4th place - 2009)
Hadise is a Belgian born and raised music artist and television personality, with Turkish parents. She was asked many times to represent Belgium at Eurovision but decided to represent Turkey. The chorus is a real ear worm with ‘Can you the the rhythm in my heart? The beats going Düm Tek Tek!’. Hadise wears a very revealing red flowing outfit and belly dances to drumming in the song which is almost seems reminiscent of “Everyway The I Can” but more of a contemporary version. “Düm Tek Tek” gained commercial success after Eurovision and reached No. 1 on the Belgian Flanders Chart and Turkish singles chart.
2. maNga - We Could Be the Same (2nd place - 2010)
Following their 4th place success in 2009 the year before with Hadise, Turkey were giving it all they had to get another win. Unfortunately in 2010 maNga couldn’t bet the popularity of Lena’s “Satellite”, but their industrial alternative rock performance was well received and came in at an impressive runner up position. Their performance was superb, dark, filled with flames and flashing lights, and, for something different, features an angle grinder.
1. Sertab Erener - Everyway That I Can (1st place - 2003)
2003 turned around Turkey’s success in Eurovision, and Erener’s win with “Everyway That I Can” signified a change in the style of Eurovision entries thereafter. Her win is part of a four year period, together with Marie N, Ruslana and Helena Paparizou, were strong solo female performances lead the way taking home the Eurovision trophy.
Things weren’t so rosy when Sertab’s entry was announced though, as she was met with criticism. Her performance was considered too racy and pop, even though it is very Turkish sounding and incorporated some Turkish dancing. She also went into the Contest not as the hot favourite, as t.A.T.u were expected to win (they came in at third place). But once Sertab had won all had been forgiven.
The song did well commercially charting across Europe, and reaching number one in Sweden, Greece and Turkey.
We hope Turkey returns to the Contest soon, they’ve been sadly missed.
Who would you put in your top five?