With a combination of the kitsch of Eurovision and the lofty sentiments of pan-Turkic brotherhood, the Turkic-speaking world’s first international song contest, Turkvision, made its debut. Azerbaijan won the inaugural contest, besting 23 other competitors from across the Turkic world – from the powerhouse host Turkey to tiny Shoria, a region of 14,000 in western Siberia.
The creation of Turkvision followed Turkey’s 2012 announcement that it was withdrawing from future Eurovision contests because it deemed the voting method – which combines votes from a jury and public voting by phone – unfair. Turkvision instead used a method relying solely on a jury containing representatives from all 24 participating regions because the organizers believed that “Eurovision’s scoring [system] is political,” said Cem Özsancak, a Turkvision spokesman.
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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based freelance writer, who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.