The Vice President of the Turkish National Olympic Committee (TNOC) Hazan Arat said last week “Istanbul should be a candidate city for the 2032 Summer Olympic Games.”
“This objective must not be abandoned,” Arat, who also serves on the Executive Boards of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and World Athletics told the Anadolu Agency.
Arat led Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 edition of the Olympic Games, falling second in an International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in 2013 that awarded the Games to Tokyo by a vote of 60 to 36. Madrid placed third after losing a first round tie-breaker with Istanbul.
“The world has seen how we lost to Tokyo in the last minute,” Arat added.
“Turkey deserved the Olympics.
“Istanbul made important progress [after the bid].
“Transportation, airport… Turkey is a great country in this respect. One of the best in such organizations in the world. ”
Istanbul marketed its 2020 bid with the slogan ‘bridge together’, a reference to intentions to bridge cultures with the first-ever Games in a Muslim majority country. It was also symbolic of the prospect of hosting the Games on two separate continents with a city straddling the Bosphorus Strait at the point Europe becomes Asia.
Turkey’s fifth bid in six cycles was an early favorite due to it’s youthful and dynamic population and the major infrastructure projects that were underway and highlighted with the construction of the Marmaray rail tunnel under the Bosphorus.
But the perceived lead rapidly disintegrated mid-campaign when anti-government protests broke out in the city’s popular Taksim Square and police were accused of using excessive force against demonstrators. Instead it was Tokyo’s promise of delivering the Games with ‘a safe pair of hands’ that resonated well with IOC members.
Istanbul sat out of the the 2024 bid cycle that eventually resulted in a double allocation of Games to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
“Our young country should follow its dreams. 2032 is not a tardy date, the days go fast,” Arat said.
“Turkey is one of the important countries allocating sources to sport. Turkey has splendid facilities all around.”
The 2032 race was well underway in January with Southeast Queensland in Australia as the runaway favourite chased by India, Indonesia and a joint bid between North and South Korea. But the emergence of the global coronavirus pandemic has stalled the process with Indonesia delaying until at least December and Australia putting its project on hold indefinitely.
The IOC has noted that the delays are prudent during the current health crisis that has already resulted in the Tokyo 2020 Games being delayed until 2021.
But with the 2032 Games still 12 years away, the delay opens new doors for other interested nations who may need an opportunity to beat the post-pandemic recession.
“Turkey, managing successfully the pandemic process, fulfilled its promises on the infrastructure during its candidacy in 2020,” Arat said.
“Roads, subways, Marmaray, airport were the promises given at that time.
“All are completed. Istanbul is ready and should be a candidate. This is a state decision. Our young population can lead this candidacy.
“Istanbul is in a fantastic place.”
Arat underlined that under new IOC reforms enacted last year and with more changes coming out of the current pandemic adjustments, bidding for and hosting the Games has become more efficient and less costly.
“The candidacy procedure is not like before,” he said.
“If the cities are up for it, if they intend to do so, the committees come together and discuss. The host is determined with less expenses until the voting.”
There is no set timetable for the awarding of the 2032 Games. With the new process, the IOC host city commission will enter discussions with interested cities and propose a candidate to the Executive Board when the timing is right.