Turkey was represented at Eurovision 2011 by the rock band Yüksek Sadakat. The group’s bass guitarist Kutlu Özmakinacı has gone on record “allegedly” to say what he was led to believe about the result of the Azerbaijan victory of Ell and Nikki in 2011.
In an article by the Turkish newspaper “turkiyegazetesi.com.tr” – they alleged that Özmakinacı commented on Eurovision 2011 saying “When we took part in 2011 we were aware of the rumours about vote-buying. What we heard was that Azerbaijan had given money to various countries in return for votes”.
Allegedly he goes on to say that he came across this information from the Turkish Delegation themselves – “Turkish delegates shared with us information that in order to win Eurovision, Azerbaijan had paid the jury 30 million US Dollars in bribes. And also that Mehriban Aliyeva, the wife of President Ilham Aliyev, was at the very top of this organisation.”
To accuse the Azeri First Lady of this is a serious accusation. It does seem very strange that a Turkish artist would say this about Azerbaijan considering the extremely strong cultural ties between both countries. Özmakinacı recognises this himself and allegedly said “If you were to ask the officials they may lie, they may not want to answer. I would understand that. They may not speak up because of the ties of friendship and brotherhood we have with Azerbaijan. The paying of bribes was known about during the actual contest. The Turkish delegation was aware of this.”
At this point we must re-iterate that we are merely reporting what has been reported by the Turkish New Agency “Turkiyegazetesi”.
However what conclusions could we hypothesize from these allegations?
- Firstly one could understand if the Turkish delegation knew of these alleged bribes, that they would particularly want to return to a pure tele vote Eurovision Scoring System to eliminate such potential events reoccurring. Easier to query the Big 5 Grand Final Qualification as opposed to speaking of vote-buying and any alleged knowledge of it.
- These are serious accusations that the news agency is reporting. They should engage with the EBU if they feel this strongly about the subject and share their “hard evidence”.
- What of Azerbaijan? Most people on countless web sites are calling for the country to be expelled from the contest. Well that is totally unjust until any allegations are substantiated. “Innocent until proven guilty” seems to have been forgotten by many. However nobody has asked the question “What if these allegations and untrue?” Is it fair to say that Azerbaijan’s reputation and future success in the contest could be irreversibly damaged, constantly questioned for validity of their results and ruin any chances of ever wining the contest again?
- Many people are too quick to jump on the “Eurovision Speculation Band Wagon”. Yes ask the questions, if you make claims of fraudulent activity then be prepared to ask for your source to come forward and stand by their allegations.
- Many people fail to mention that the Azerbaijan national selection process is by far the most comprehensive competitions at Eurovision. 9 weeks of live auditions where each artist has to perform on live television for 5 successive nights. No other country puts their contestants through such a rigorous selection. Is it a crime for the broadcaster to seek out the best song writers from around the globe and then be prepared to get the best people to stage their performance – certainly not. Finally is it fair to overlook the touring, promotion and social network activity that the broadcaster puts into promoting their artist and song before and at Eurovision each year? Not in the slightest.
Western Europe prides itself on the fundamental principle of “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” – it is about time that we walked the walk or sang the song in this case. The EBU is investigating the claims, they have strengthened the jury procedure for 2014 and now is the time to let the finger-pointing stop until something proven to be pointed at.
Is Azerbaijan’s reputation in the contest now tarnished by these yet unproven allegations? Let us know what you think.
Author/Website co-founder and Editor in chief Garrett Mulhall
Source : 12Points.tv, Turkiyegazetesi.com.tr
Original Article from Turkiyegazetesi.com.tr here