Istanbul 2020’s briefing to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Wednesday focussed on Turkey’s delivery capacity and the profound impact the country’s first Games would have on the region’s young people.
Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan emphasized that after a decade of political, social and economic transformation, Turkey has “the greatest capacity to stage the Games” in its history.
He said, “since 2002, our GDP per capita has tripled. In the past four years we have created 4.8 million new jobs for our people. We have one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe. We can completely accommodate the guarantees and Games scope in our national finances. It may see that the Istanbul 2020 non-OCOG budget of $19.4 billion is large, but my government is already investing most of this budget anyway. $16.5 billion dollars of investments are already underway, leaving $2.9 billion for the unique needs of the Games. That is less than one per cent of our overall investment budget over the next seven years”.
He added, “our Olympic Law was enacted more than 20 years ago and mandates full government support. We do not need new legislation, additional guarantees or any bureaucratic process to move the Games forward. Our Games infrastructure agency, TOKI, has build 600,000 new residences in the last 10 years – that’s the equivalent of five Olympic Villages every year. Today, TOKI has the necessary funds and land to build all the infrastructure for the Games”.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Suat Kilic, described TOKI’s recent contributions to Turkish sport. He said, “in Mersin, we accomplished a rather difficult challenge. We build 12 new Olympic-calibre venues within only 18 months of being awarded these Games, with the held of our colleagues at TOKI. All services, including transportation, security, accommodation, medical and ticketing were delivered according to the plan. This was an important test of our ability to deliver”.
Istanbul 2020 Chairman, Hasan Arat, discussed the powerful alignment between Istanbul’s Games objectives and the city’s long-term development goals. He said, “Istanbul’s 2020 Games vision is perfectly aligned with Turkey’s 2023 Master Plan. It is already in motion and delivers certainty, equally for the Games of 2020 and the city of Istanbul. Our city needs more transportation infrastructure, and we are building it. Our urban population needs more sports facilities, and we are developing them. Our young people need role models, and the Games offers them.
“We know we can deliver, because Istanbul has matched a 20-year desire to host the Games with commitment and capacity. Our city can guarantee an extraordinary Games. The Olympic Movement has stepped beyond sport to make history before, and you can do it again in Istanbul in 2020. Now is the time for us to Bridge Together”.