In 2011 Azerbaijan won the Eurovision Song Contest with “Running Scared” by Ell & Nikki, however today new allegations throw into doubt the legitimacy of that win. The allegations today come from the bass guitarist of the 2011 Turkish entrants Yüksek Sadakat, Kutlu Özmakinacı. In an interview with the Turkish newspaper Turkiye he said:
When we took part in 2011 we were aware of the rumours about vote-buying. What we heard was that Azerbaijan had given money to various countries in return for votes. Turkish delegates shared with us information that in order to win Eurovision, Azerbaijan had paid the jury 30 million US Dollars in bribes. And also that Mehriban Aliyeva, the wife of President Ilham Aliyev, was at the very top of this organisation. If you were to ask the officials they may lie, they may not want to answer. I would understand that. They may not speak up because of the ties of friendship and brotherhood we have with Azerbaijan. The paying of bribes was known about during the actual contest. The Turkish delegation was aware of this.”
If this rumor is true then it continues a string of allegations against Azerbaijan in respect to vote buying. In May a Lithuanian newspaper showed a video of men allegedly working on behalf of Azerbaijan to pay people to vote for Azerbaijan. There were also allegations earlier this month that Azerbaijan at the 2013 contest tried to bribe members of other juries to vote for Azerbaijan.