Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest
Turkey has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 34 times since making its debut in 1975. Since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, the only year that Turkey participated and failed to advance to the final was in 2011. Turkey hosted the 2004 contest in Istanbul. Turkey finished last on its debut at the contest in 1975, went on to finish last with "nul points" in 1983 and 1987, only reached the top ten in one of its first 18 attempts at the contest between 1975 and 1996, before Sebnem Paker achieved the country's first top five result in 1997, finishing third with "Dinle". Turkey would go on to achieve five more top five placements after the introduction of the free language rule and tele-voting, with Sertab Erener giving Turkey its first victory at the 2003 contest with the song "Everyway That I Can", narrowly defeating Belgium by two points. Turkey's other top five results are Athena, Kenan Doğulu, who all finished fourth, the nu metal band maNga, who finished second. TRT announced in December 2012 that they would not attend the 2013 contest in Malmö, citing dissatisfaction with the rules of the competition.
2013 was the first time since the 1973 contest that there was no television broadcast on TRT. In September 2013, TRT stated a return is unlikely for the 2014 competition, citing the same reasons; as of 2019, Turkey has yet to return to the contest. National broadcasting service of Turkey, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, was one of the charter members of the European Broadcasting Union in 1950 along with eighteen countries around Europe including a North African state, Tunisia; as an intercontinental country, Turkey takes part in lots of Westerner organisations including their NATO membership in 1952 and associate membership in the European Economic Community in 1959. Test transmissions started on TRT 1 on 31 January 1968. A full national television schedule, which at that time linked the areas in and around Ankara and Izmir, started in December 1971. TRT renewed its membership in the European Broadcasting Union starting on 26 August 1972 with Turkey's first Eurovision Network event, a football match, on 13 January 1973.
Turkish national broadcaster televised the Eurovision Song Contest between 1973 and 2012 incessantly in the years that they weren't participating. Turkey debuted to the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1975 Contest, the 20th edition of the Contest and held in Stockholm, Sweden. Greece did not participate in the 1975 Contest for "unknown reasons" according to the EBU, but it was discovered that the withdrawal was in protest of Turkey's debut and its invasion of Cyprus in 1974. TRT organized a national final for select the first Turkish entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest; the final hosted by Bülend Özveren. The winning song was picked by averaging the ranks from the professional jury and people's jury as "Seninle Bir Dakika" by Semiha Yankı. At the close of voting the song had placed last. In 1976, Greek entry aroused controversy; this time Turkey withdrew from the Contest to protest the political background of the entry of Greece, "Panagia Mou, Panagia Mou". Turkey televised the final on 3 April 1976 but censored the Greek entrant's performance and played a nationalist Turkish song titled "Memleketim", one of the symbols of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in Turkey.
Turkey didn't take part in the Contest until 1978. The 1979 Contest was held in Jerusalem. Turkish entry selected as "Seviyorum" by Maria Rita Epik but Arab countries compelled the Turkish government to withdraw from the Contest because of Arabs state of war with the host country, Israel. So Turkey withdrew from the Contest for the third time in 1979. In 1980, Turkish superstar Ajda Pekkan selected internally by TRT and the song, "Petrol" through a national final. Pekkan placed 15th with 23 points, including the first twelve points received by Turkey from Morocco. Turkey participated to the Eurovision Song Contest in the eighties incessantly, and had their best result in the Eurovision Song Contest 1986, when Klips ve Onlar placed 9th with the total of 53 points in Bergen, Norway. The country scored "nul points" for two times in the eighties one in 1983 and the other one in 1987; the Contest has seen the most famous artists of Turkey in the eighties including Ajda Pekkan, Candan Erçetin and MFÖ.
Early 1990s the Contest wasn't popular in Turkey after Kayahan, one of the most famous singers of country placed 17th place in a set of 22 participating countries with 21 points. After Kayahan's failure Turkey had unknown entrants or amateur singers until 2003. Şebnem Paker, represented the country in two consecutive years, first time being in the 1996 Contest where she qualified to the final and placed 12th and in the 1997 Contest she placed third, behind the UK and Ireland, with the song "Dinle", sung in Turkish. After the free language rule was re-introduced in 1999, the first Turkish entry to be sung in English, was at the 2000 contest. Turkey reached to the top ten second time since 1986 and first time to the top three, so, the most successful result that the country had in the Eurovision Song Contest until their victory