Aug 06 2018

Turkey keeps ban on Eurovision citing Austrian drag queen

Turkey is maintaining a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest citing moral concerns, fueling the belief that there is a creeping Islamicization of the country under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The boycott will stay in place so long as the contest’s content is unsuitable for children, the head of Turkey’s state-broadcaster said at the weekend, according to Agence France Presse

"We are not thinking about taking part at the moment," said TRT chief Ibrahim Eren. "As a public broadcaster we cannot broadcast live at 9:00 pm, 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',"

Eren was referring to the victory of an Austrian drag queen who won the contest in 2014. Turkey has stayed out of the competition since 202, in what as ostensibly a dispute over the voting system, AFP reported.

"There is some kind of confusion of mentality here," Eren said, adding that Turkey's stance was backed by other countries. "Once this is corrected we will return to Eurovision."

Turkey was once seen as one of the countries more tolerant of LGBT rights until it banned the last few annual LGBTI rights marches in Istanbul. Erdogan’s government denies charges that it is seeking to turn away from Turkey’s secular traditions, even though the president says he is seeking to create new conservative generations in the country.

Erdogan became the country’s leader in 2003 after parliament lifted a ban on him, in place because he was imprisoned for inciting hatred along religious lines.

Turkey placed seventh in 2012 with the song Love Me Back sung by Can Bonomo, AFP said.