Istanbul Confirm 2020 Olympics Bid

August 15, 2011

Istanbul will bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, confirmed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Istanbul has joined the Italian capital of Rome, Madrid in Spain and Tokyo in Japan in bidding for the 2020 edition of the Games. It is also expected that the Qatari capital of Doha and South Africa’s Durban are also considering a bid by the September 1 deadline.

Erdogan said: “We are here today to declare to the world our candidacy for the 2020 Olympic Games, which we consider extremely important for our country and people. We bid because we deem sporting values and Olympic spirit that have made a great contribution in establishing peace in the world to be extremely important.”

In a statement, the Istanbul 2020 Olympics bid team highlighted Turkey’s relative financial strength in comparison to most countries, saying: “In a time of global economic downturn, we maintain our position as one of the fastest growing economies throughout the world. We will provide the strength, stability and secure foundation that is needed to guarantee and deliver the IOC institutional and operational requirements.”

Turkey has never hosted the Games and has failed with four previous bids for the Olympics since 2000.

However, Erdogan insists that the country has the necessary transport infrastructure, saying: “We can say that the infrastructure is ready and with regard to the other structures we can finish those investments quickly and easily. Within two years we will eliminate all our problems about rail systems.”

Dr Ugur Erdener, president of the Turkish National Olympic Committee, said: “We are delighted that the whole country is rallying behind this remarkable event, and with support from the President of the Republic, our Prime Minister, all our government and our great nation, we fully believe that we are in line to become one of the strongest contenders for this bid.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote on the winning bid on September 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.