The Scoop🇹🇷 Türkiye

Erdoğan Criticizes Eurovision, Says It Threatens Traditional Values

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the Eurovision Song Contest, claiming it threatens traditional family values. His remarks, particularly aimed at the 2024 winner, Swiss singer Nemo, have sparked widespread debate, highlighting ongoing cultural tensions between conservative values and progressive ideals.

Nemo’s victory with the song “The Code” marked a significant moment in Eurovision history as the first non-binary winner. Many celebrated Nemo’s achievement as a triumph for inclusivity and diversity. However, Erdoğan’s reaction was starkly different, accusing the contest of promoting values conflicting with Türkiye’s traditional family structures and Islamic heritage.

“It has become impossible to encounter a normal person at such gatherings,” Erdoğan stated, expressing disdain for what he perceives as the event’s moral decline. He argued that Türkiye’s 12-year abstention from Eurovision was wise, reaffirming his stance against what he described as a “disgraceful competition”​.

Erdoğan’s comments reflect his ruling Justice and Development Party’s opposition to LGBTQ+ rights, emphasizing traditional family values and Islamic principles. He linked cultural influences like Eurovision to societal issues such as declining birth rates, framing them as existential threats to the nation.

“We now realize the wisdom of our decision to keep Turkey out of this disgraceful competition for the past 12 years,” Erdoğan affirmed, believing Eurovision undermines the country’s cultural values and social fabric​.

Eurovision has long celebrated diversity and promoted LGBTQ+ visibility, making it a target for conservative backlash. This year’s event in Malmö, Sweden, was no exception, featuring performances that pushed cultural boundaries and celebrated non-conformity.

The controversy surrounding Erdoğan’s remarks added to the tense atmosphere at Eurovision 2024, marked by protests against Israel’s participation due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the disqualification of the Netherlands’ entry, Joost Klein, for alleged misconduct​.

Erdoğan’s criticism has drawn both support and condemnation globally. Supporters argue he is defending traditional values and protecting national culture, while critics see his remarks as part of a broader pattern of intolerance toward LGBTQ+ communities and progressive cultural expressions.

This debate underscores the broader struggles faced by LGBTQ+ communities in regions dominated by conservative politics. Eurovision’s role as a beacon of inclusivity and diversity makes it a focal point for these cultural and political debates, highlighting the challenges faced by those advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in more conservative regions.

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