Turkish president promotes bid for 2020 Olympics

Istanbul, March 25 (IANS) Turkish President Abdullah Gul promoted Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Olympics in a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation committee and affirmed the country would “deliver on promises”.

Gul, Sunday, told 15 IOC inspectors, who have already visited rival bidders Tokyo and Madrid, that “Istanbul is a truly global city where complex interactions of trade, finance, culture and tourism take place and it has all the ancient and contemporary credentials for hosting the 2020 Olympics.”
“If awarded, Istanbul 2020 would mark the first Games in Olympic history to take place across two continents simultaneously. It will immerse the Olympic family in a brand new environment with a rich history and a fascinating culture unlike any other city in the world,” Gul told IOC team headed by vice-president Craig Reedie.
The Turkish president strongly underlined the heterogeneity and variety of cultures in and within the wider region of Istanbul. He said his country has undergone immense change in the past decade.
“Istanbul has transformed itself in the last decade. An annual average of $1.5 billion has been spent on transport upgrades since 2005. By 2018, a further $10 billion will be invested in transport infrastructure,” he added.
Gul said Turkish leaders were committed to Istanbul’s bid “and to delivering everything we promised in our candidature. We will deliver on our commitment to you. I personally stand before you and make that promise.”
According to Turkish authorities, the country will invest $2.5 billion to build more than 20 new sports facilities in Istanbul if it wins the bid to host the games in 2020.
After the meeting, the evaluation commission began touring sports facilities and assessing Istanbul’s ability to host the games. The IOC will select the 2020 host city in Buenos Aires on Sep 7.