In a nail-biting finish, Turkey claimed victory yesterday (May 24) at the 48th Eurovision Song Contest with "Everyway That I Can," sung by one of the country's most popular female vocalists, Sertab Er

In a nail-biting finish, Turkey claimed victory yesterday (May 24) at the 48th Eurovision Song Contest with "Everyway That I Can," sung by one of the country's most popular female vocalists, Sertab Erener. It was the first win for Turkey, after competing in the contest 25 times since first entering in 1975.

Erener wrote the music for "Every Way That I Can" with Demir Demirkan. The lyrics are by Demirkan.

The lead position changed a few times during the voting. Norway took an early lead, and then Belgium moved ahead and stayed there until the very last vote. Slovenia was the final country to announce the result of its televoting, giving only three points out of a possible 12 to Belgium. When Slovenia's 10 points were awarded to Turkey, Erener's victory was certain. Even with Slovenia's 12 points going to Russia, it wasn't enough to push t.A.T.u. ahead of Turkey. The Russian female teenage duo was considered the favorite to win, but fell short of the mark.

While some say voting at the Eurovision Song Contest is political, that was disproven this year as both Cyprus and Greece gave points to Turkey; each country awards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 12 points to 10 different countries. The song, performed in English, received an enthusiastic reception at Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia, where some 6,000 people attended the live event. The song contest is broadcast live throughout Europe to an audience estimated at 300 million. It is seen on a delayed basis in Australia.

"Everyway That I Can" has been released on Sony Music in Turkey. Even prior to winning the contest, the single was already slated for release in other European countries over the next few weeks.

during the winner's press conference held immediately after the live broadcast, Yves Barbieux, leader of the Belgian group Urban Trad, presented Erener with a Belgian flag wrapped around a gift of Belgian chocolates. Urban Trad came second with "Sanomi," sung in an imaginary language made up by Barbieux.

Turkey's previous best placing was in the 1997, when "Dinle" by Sebnem Paker & Grup Etnik placed third.

Here are the final Eurovision point totals:

1. Turkey (167)
2. Belgium (165)
3. Russia (164)
4. Norway (123)
5. Sweden (107)
6. Austria (101)
7. Poland (90)
8. Spain (81)
9. Iceland (81)
10. Romania (73)
11. Ireland (53)
12. Germany (53)
13. The Netherlands (45)
14. Ukraine (30)
15. Croatia (29)
16. Bosnia & Herzegovina (27)
17. Greece (25)
18. France (19)
19. Israel (17)
20. Cyprus (15)
21. Estonia (14)
22. Portugal (13)
23. Slovenia (7)
24. Latvia (5)
25. Malta (4)
26. United Kingdom (0)