Turkey’s boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest will reportedly continue next year because of the competition’s inclusion of LGBTIQ performers.
The country has not participated since 2012, and Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) boss Ibrahim Eren said the country was unlikely to compete in 2019.
“As a public broadcaster we cannot broadcast live at 9pm, 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 told state-run news agency Anadolu.
Eren was referring to bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst, who won the contest in 2014 with the soaring ballad Rise Like A Phoenix.
Turkey would return to the contest once this “confusion in mentality” is “corrected,” he said.
A spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the contest’s producers, said the long-running music competition’s values “are of universality and inclusivity and our proud tradition of celebrating diversity through music.”
“TRT has made a huge contribution to the contest in the past, including hosting the event in Istanbul in 2004, and we would very much welcome them back should they decide to participate again,” the spokesperson said.
Eurovision has a long tradition of being a queer extravaganza. Dana International became the first transgender performer to win the contest 20 years ago in 1998.
This year’s Eurovision featured a pair of male dancers performing as a same-sex couple during Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s ballad Together.
The EBU banned a Chinese broadcaster from airing the contest after they censored O’Shaugnessy’s performance in their broadcast.
Eurovision 2018 was won by Israeli performer Netta with her fierce and catchy song Toy.