Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Saturday Istanbul is bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Erdogan said Turkey’s relative economic success and lessons learned from its previous failed bids (in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) made the city a strong contender.
Erdogan said in a televised speech, “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 extremely important the sporting values and Olympics spirit that have made a great contribution in establishing peace in the world”.
He added, “we are excited because this time we sincerely believe that we will attain our goal. We successfully emerged from the global crisis. Turkey is one of the fastest growing economies….We have invested in sports and will continue to do so”.
Erdogan said since its first bid Turkey has built state of the art stadiums and sports centres in Istanbul, and has taken steps to alleviate Istanbul’s traffic congestion problem – the city’s major problem.
He said, “we had several deficiencies but Istanbul is now a city that has overcome them”, citing new light rail networks and other infrastructure.
Erdogan said his government would legislate special laws dedicated to Olympic Games to speed up the investments and tenders that would be necessary for Turkey to get ready for the organization.
The Anatolia news agency quotes Erdogan saying, “we can say that the infrastructure (of the city) is ready and about the superstructure we can finish those investments quickly and easily”.
AFP reports Turkey completed the construction of Istanbul Ataturk Olympics Stadium in 2002 that has a capacity of about 75,000. The stadium is in compliance with international standards of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and football and athletics federations.
Erdogan said Turkey is completing the necessary investments for athletics and tennis, while the railroad systems are being constructed to provide transportation for newly built sports facilities.
The IOC is selecting the host city for the 2020 Summer Games in 2013.