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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 May, 2003, 22:36 GMT 23:36 UK
Turkish delight at Eurovision win
Turkey's Sertab Erener
Turkey's Sertab Erener won the contest

Turkey have won the Eurovision Song Contest, after a fiercely-fought contest with Russia's Tatu and Belgium's Urban Trad.

The UK's entry Jemini - duo Chris Cromby, 21, and Gemma Abbey, 20 - had the ignominy of being the only entry to score no points. It is the worst performance in the UK's Eurovision history.

The UK's previous lowest performance was in 2000, when it was placed 16th.

Controversial Russian duo Tatu, the bookies' favourites, came third and their performance, which featured a kiss, was jeered by some spectators in the arena.

Turkey's Sertab Erener won with the song Every Way That I Can, with Belgium in second place and Tatu in third.

Erener is one of Turkey's most popular singers, with album sales of over four million.

Terry Wogan, who hosted the UK coverage of the event on BBC One, said: "I think the UK is suffering from post-Iraq backlash."

Tatu had been the favourite to win the competition all week.

They sang Don't Believe, Don't Fear, Don't Ask, a Russian language song, to boos from the 6,000-strong crowd at Riga's Skonto Hall.

Despite threats they might take to the stage naked, the pair - Lena Katina and Julia Volkova - sang their song dressed in jeans and white t-shirts.

Jemini
Jemini are the duo Chris Cromby and Gemma Abbey

They had already been warned by contest organisers about being late for rehearsals, and that their stage performance could not contravene the show's strict guidelines.

Under Eurovision rules, voters in each of the countries could ring or text their votes for any country other than their own. Bosnia-Hercegovina and Russia used jury votes because of their countries' poor telecommunications.

Ireland's Mickey Joe Harte was the third performer of the night with his song We've Got the World Tonight, after Iceland's Birgitta and Austria's outlandish cabaret performer Alf Poier.

A poll on the official Eurovision website asking the public which act they thought their country would vote for had Spain's entry, Beth, in top place on Friday.

Tatu were in second and Turkey in third.

Latvia hosted the event after 22-year-old law student Marija Naumova won last year's event in Tallinn, Estonia.

'Unique event'

The contest, held at Riga's 6,000-capacity Skonto Hall, was the biggest indoor concert held in Latvia's history.

The country of 2.4 million people hailed the show, which was expected to be watched by more than 160 million people, as a unique event.

"It's important for us as a small country to prove we can do something like this," said Solvita Vevere, a spokeswoman from Latvia's Eurovision organising committee.

Latvia paid half of the $11m (6.9m) needed to run the event.

Millions more were spent on the city, including a full renovation of the Skonto Hall.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Clare Lyons
"Sertab Erener is already an established artist in Turkey"



SEE ALSO:
Turkish press celebrates win
25 May 03  |  Europe


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