Turkey: “Is Can Bonomo a Real Turk?”

  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.

23 comments on “Turkey: “Is Can Bonomo a Real Turk?”

  1. Sertab was is also jewish and noone seemed to care if she is a real turk back then.

  2. He is Sephardic Jew and settles in Turkey.

  3. There are Jewish, Christian, Atheist Turks so noone gives a damn about what a retarded religious paper says… Being a Turk doesn’t mean being Muslim, ethnicity and religion are two different things as Can said…@paschalis: Sertab was born into Islam but she has been practising Budhism for a long time!

  4. “my religion is my personal affair” agreed, very wise, nothing more to add

    • Yes, that has been the French approach since the revolution. It is one of the reasons why France is my favourite country if we talk history too.

      • you’re wrong though: it’s the Law of 1905 which is like a core of what frenchness is all about that makes it so relevant; dont forget that the french XIXth century was extremely religious (Romantisme, Concordat’s politics due to Napoleon)… People tend to forget that after the Revolution, the XIXth century had no less than 7 regimes for France and a lot of them were Empires and Kingdoms, both relying a lot on religious tideness… it’s the III Republic of 1870 and the law it passed in 1905 of “Separation of State and the Church” that changed everything. You’re right that the spirit of this law and of the III Republic lied deep in its representations of what the Revolution was. But the fact that religion is a personal affair is definitely more an early XXth century than a Revolution one (for if you look deep into it, during the Revolution, they were much more radical and atheist, whereas the 1905 Law just says “you can believe whatever, just keep it at home”)

        • Yes, of course there were ups and downs but you have never had any religious fanatism supported by the state authorities like in Spain, Italy or (worst of all) Germany since the revolution. Or am I wrong?

          • “fanatism” probably not, but the Concordat system made by Napoleon to a special connection with Vatican earned France the title “fille aînée de l’église” (older sister of the church) and then, the antisemitism was very strong in France at the end of XIXth century leading to the Dreyfus affair which almost turned into a civil war. So the religious question was at the very center of many of our political debates in the XIXth century with the powers at be very much defending the Church, until the III Republic and ultimately the 1905 Law. It’s true that the Revolution was what triggered it all, but then again, the Ancien Régime system had the aristocracy and the religious members always associated against the Tiers Etat, explaining, along the influence of materialist thinkers (La Mettrie, Helvétius, Holbach and most of all my beloved Diderot), the hatred the revolutionists had towards the religion and the religious people. I hope I’m clear!

            • Yes, you are perfectly clear. But at least France had enough reasonable men to get Dreyfus rehabilitated in the end. I doubt that there had been enough civil courage in countries like Germany or Spain. In a way, terrible as the whole affair was, the final outcome nevertheless proves that France was way ahead of the rest on continental Europe in these matters. Anyway, on to more cheerful things. DMGP will start in a few minutes. :)

            • Yes, but I will watch DMGP because it is a final and I have never watched that show before. For all those years, I have always been out on the night it took place.

            • that’s sad, it’s usually a great show, very well put together, and the past few yeas with great songs too… based on webcast, it’s the one I’ll watch most too, as a final instead of a semifinal, but i have both opened

            • I am not good at multitasking and thus will skip Norway tonight. First Denmark, then on to Iceland!

  5. Discussions like that give me the creeps. :(

    P.S.: I think that Sibel Tüzün was instrumental in breaking up stereotypes and prejudices too. She is more or less the complete opposite of the covered, docile and shy lady so many Europeans think of when they hear the phrase ‘Turkish women’. What a power woman! :)

  6. religion make the world destroy it. I really hope for him the best !!!!

  7. Can will become my new Glenn in 2012 :)

    Im watching DMGP now!! just started.. still dont know which one to vote.. i am between 2 songs

  8. […] post: Turkey: “Is Can Bonomo a Real Turk?” « The Eurovision Times Tags: contest, created-quite, eurovision, fellow, his-fellow, singer, the-singer, trt, […]

  9. is this site jewish or a turkish hater one? i hope it isn’t like oikotimes who just flatters greece/cyprus and its friends and makes horrible news about the rest. I AM A JEW WHO WAS BORN IN TURKEY JUST LIKE CAN AND MANY OTHERS. I FEEL TURK AND I AM PROUD OF IT I NEVER HAD A PROBLEM COS OF MY RELIGION .HERE PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW YOUR RELIGION THEY DONT ASK IF U R MUSLIM JEW OR CHRISTIAN . SERTAB WAS ALSO JEWISH AND TURKEY SENT OTHER JEWISH-CHRISTIAN AND ATHEIST SINGERS BEFORE BECAUSE POINT IS IF YOU ARE TURK NOT YOUR RELIGION!and this news isn’t true noone told something about can’s religion in a bad way. just his surname was weird for turks and he was unknown to the the public and turks were expecting a big star to represent them this year not a singer that almost noone knows. thats why they were where he is from and what does his surname means despite now turkey and israel don’t have their best relations what trt did is great and turkish people never had something against the israeli people .taking a headline from a very extreme religious newspaper and putting it here is very unfair. my parents were never ungrateful to turks and i wont be too. i will never forget how much they helped us in our wordt times. media mainly supported can and now people like his character too.

    • u r right i am a christian who lives in turkey since last 5 years and none cares about my religion here, i have a very hot turkish bf and so happy he is atheist btw

  10. flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas flas bu sarki yi dili köttu COK

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