Jamala, the Crimean Tatar singer who took Ukraine to the top spot in the 61st Eurovision Song Contest, received a phone call from a champion of her people's cause: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Representing Ukraine's close ally and a supporter of Crimean Tatars' rights, the Turkish president congratulated 32-year-old singer and wished her success in her musical career, according to presidential sources quoted by Turkish news agencies. In return, Jamala thanked President Erdoğan for the "emotional" call.
The singer recited "1944" at the Eurovision Song Contest Saturday night, a song about the tragedy of Tatars forced into exile by the Soviet regime in the titular year. The award comes at a time when Tatars are faced by another "tragedy," claiming they have faced repression since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Speaking to reporters after she returned to Ukraine, Jamala said she hopes that they will be able to hold next year's Eurovision in Crimea. "I would want next year's contest to be held in my motherland, Crimea. Right now, Crimea is occupied," Jamala said. "This victory shows that there is justice. We really deserved that victory because we have experienced too much pain," she said, adding that Europe and the world has heard the "history story," a reference to the Crimean Tatars' deportation in 1944. Jamala said that Europe voted for her song as "they understood and felt me." The performer became the second Ukrainian singer to win Eurovision after Ruslana Lyzhychko won the 2004 contest held in Turkey with a song called "Wild Dances."
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