TURKEY – Sertab Erener, the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest winner recently posted an Insta story where she claimed the country in returning to the Eurovision Song Contest and wishing the artist who will be selected the very best of luck. The saga now continues as the 2010 representatives of Turkey in the contest, group maNga posted on Facebook a message saying “Eurovision? again and again” teasing their home country return to the contest. Despite the group’s rumours to also represent San Marino in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest which sounds a bit of a hoax, it is worth to pay attention to their comment coming right after Sertab’s hint message and it’s weird that the band are hinting their own return to the contest as the message clearly implies that they will represent the country in Lisbon. It is though weird that TRT is completely silent on the story.
Manga was formed in the year 2001, being named after the word for ‘cool man’, ‘Manga'. Initially, they were mostly underground, playing covers of other rock and metal bands. They came into the public spotlight after finishing runner-up at the Sing your song’ music contest. This caught the attention of artist manager Hadi Elazzi (GRGDN), who immediately promoted the band to Sony Music, which resulted in their first, self-titled album being published in 2004, becoming a mass hit.
Following this, they performed at various music festivals and have worked with such famous Turkish singers as Koray Candemir (of Kargo fame), Vega and Göksel. Most of their songs are written by the group members. The genre of their music was described by Yağmur, the author of most of the songs, as having a touch on nu metal, hip hop and mixing these all in a “pot” with melodies of Anatolia.
Manga’s duet with Göksel is included in one of the most successful (with almost a million viewers) Turkish films, Sınav (featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme). Their song Bir kadın çizeceksin was featured among the music of the FIFA 06 game. The band is considered a headliner for several Turkish music festivals, including Saklıfest, Patlıcan, Rokofest and Rock’n Coke. Manga took to the stage at the Wembley Arena in London, together with Tarkan on 13 April 2008, but was then cancelled because of the technical problems. They then again took to the stage in London at the O2 Academy, Islington on 4 December 2009. On 12 January 2010 the Turkish broadcaster TRT announced that maNga would be the Turkish representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. They came second with 170 points, behind Germany.
Turkey in Eurovision
Turkey participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 34 times from their debut in 1975 with the song “Seninle Bir Dakika” performed by Semiha Yankı, to their withdrawal in 2013. Turkey has always qualified for the grand final, except the 2011 Contest, since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004. Since their debut in the two years Turkey finished last (1983 and 1987), they scored “nul points”. Before 1997, the country’s only top ten result was achieved by Klips ve Onlar, who placed ninth in 1986. Turkey achieved six top five results between 1997 and 2010; winning once in 2003 with the song “Everyway That I Can” by Sertab Erener, narrowly defeating Belgium by two points. In 2004, the home entry in Istanbul, “For Real” by Athena, placed fourth. In 2007, “Shake It Up Şekerim” by Kenan Doğulu also finished fourth. In 2008, the band Mor ve Ötesi placed seventh. In 2009, Hadise achieved another impressive result for Turkey, finishing in fourth place. In 2010, the nu metal band maNga, achieved Turkey’s second best result in the contest, finishing second.
Since the introduction of the free language rule (1997) as well as televoting (1999), Turkish entries had much more success than in previous years. In 1997, Turkey finished third with the song “Dinle” by Şebnem Paker, who sung all the song in Turkish. The country sent a song partially in English for the first time in 2000 and completely in English in 2003, the winning entry of that year. Since 2000, Turkey has had seven entries completely sung in English and four bilingual songs. TRT hosted the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Abdi İpekçi Arena, which is located in Istanbul and it was the first time that the Contest had two televised shows, with one semi-final held on Wednesday and the grand final held on the following Saturday. TRT announced on 14 December 2012 that they would not attend the 2013 competition in Malmö, Sweden citing dissatisfaction with the rules of the competition. In September 2013, Turkey’s state broadcaster stated a return is unlikely for the 2014 competition, citing the same reasons. Despite the rumours of the country’s return, Volkan Bozkır, a member of Turkish parliament from the conservative government party AKP, reported during a press conference that Turkey would no longer participate in the contest after Conchita Wurst’s victory in 2014. Also there was no television broadcast on TRT in 2013 (reason cited as Finland’s lesbian kiss in several places) and 2014, for the first time since the 1973 Contest.