Turkey – Can Bonomo was completely unknown to most of his fellow countrymen before TRT announced that he would represent Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. Since the singer’s nomination has created quite the flurry in the press and on Internet forums. Unfortunately not because he is a complete newcomer with relatively little experience, but mainly because of his religious believes: Can Bonomo is a Jew.
For some years Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT has used the participation in the Eurovision Song Contest to change the image of Turkey in Europe. Since Sertab Erener’s win in 2003, Ska and rock bands (aka musicians that do not represent the stereotype of Turkish music) have represented the country and achieved mostly respectable results. The choice to send Bonomo is another step in this unconventional direction.
Bonomo has not chosen the entry yet. He will soon present three songs to the officials at TRT. He said the song will combine the “Orient and traditional Turkish sounds with world music and pop”. Editor Fehmi Koru writes that the criticism Bonomo has to face only climaxed after his religion was made public. An islamic newspaper headlined “A Jew Will Represent Turkey” and asked whether Bonomo was a “real Turk”.
“I am a Turkish Jew, my religion is my personal affair,” Bonomo said. He is a descendant of Jews that fled from Spain in the 15th century and found a new home in the Ottoman Empire. Over 30.000 Jews live in Turkey today. “My ancestors have been living here for more than 500 years,”he added. “We grew up with Turkish culture, that’s why I can only be influenced by Turkish culture in my art, and no other.” He also believes that “art has no religion or ethnic group.”
Mevlüt Cavusoğlu, a Turkish member of the European Council expressed his embarrassment due to how Bonomo is treated in Turkey. He affirmed that religious tolerance has a long tradition in Turkey. “Every Turk, no matter who he is, can represent the Turkish Republic,” he said.
- Turkey: Is Can Bonomo The Turkish Representative? (eurovisiontimes.wordpress.com)
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- Turkish Jews celebrate country’s Eurovision pick, but singer would prefer … – Jewish Telegraphic Agency (jta.org)
- Eurovision 2012: Logo and Theme to Be Revealed (eurovisiontimes.wordpress.com)