We turn east once more, and my first top 5 of a country which no longer competes in Eurovision, at least for now. It’s a shame, as Turkey had a tremendously successful period in in the contest from 1997 onwards. We may see them back at some point but until then, enjoy this Top 5!
Turkish success at Eurovision has really come in the last 20 years – before that, and they had been in the contest since 1975, they had struggled to even finish above 15th. Recent years have seen a complete reversal and they were barely out of the top 10 between 2003 and 2012. This top 5 is dominated by those more recent songs.
5. Gülseren “Rimi Rimi Ley” (2005, 13th place, 92 points)
Somewhat a guilty pleasure, and definitely the sort of Mediterranean-Middle Eastern ethnic sound I love at Eurovision, I suspect this may not be known to many. I was reminded of it as the guys at the (excellent) esxctra.com use this track on their livestream when they are obliged to mute it when first rehearsals take place.
4. Hadise “Düm Tek Tek” (2009, 4th place, 177 points)
Unashamedly using the bellies (and other jiggling parts) to full effect, the Belgian born Hadise got us all dancing along with this memorable number in 2009.
3. maNga “We Could Be the Same” (2010, 2nd place, 170 points)
A huge band across much of Europe, maNga brought real big stadium Turkish rock to Eurovision. They were winners of MTV’s Best European Act in 2009 but couldn’t stop the Lena juggernaut that year. They did however score Turkey’s only second place finish with this.
2. Sertab Erener “Everyway That I Can” (2003, winner, 167 points)
Turkey’s first ever song performed completely in English, it also became Turkey’s first ever Eurovision win, narrowly beating Belgium in a very close finish in the voting. I’m very glad it did, as this is so much better than the runner up that year!
1. Şebnem Paker and Grup Etnik “Dinle” (1997, 3rd place, 121 points)
It may come as some surprise that Sertab didn’t take top spot, much as I enjoy that song, this still stands out as my favourite Turkish song. It achieved the best ever result for a song performed in Turkish, and in 1997, it was the highest placed non-English song after the UK (Katrina!) and Ireland.
Did I miss any Turkish gems from before 1997? Or are any recent songs you would have expected to be in my top 5 that aren’t here? Let me know in the comments below!