Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday announced Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games.
“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,” Erdogan said in his televised remarks.
“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,” Erdogan said.
Turkey with its rapidly growing economy, strength to overcome the global economic crisis and ongoing investments in sports facilities and international organisations, makes it an ideal candidate to host the summer Games, he added.
Erdogan said his government would legislate special laws dedicated to Olympic Games to speed up the investments and tenders that would be necessary for his country to get ready for the organisation, Anatolia news agency reported.
“We can say that the infrastructure (of the city) is ready and about the superstructure we can finish those investments quickly and easily,” Anatolia quoted him as saying.
Turkey in 2002 completed the construction of Istanbul Ataturk Olympics Stadium with a capacity of some 75.000 people.
The stadium is in compliance with international standards of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and football and athletics federations, it said on its website.
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.
“Within two years we will eliminate all our problems about rail systems,” he said.
Turkey have failed in four previous bids to host the Games, Anatolia said. It applied for the first time in 2000 and skipped the application for the 2016 Summer Games.
“Istanbul bid for many times but it has never been ready as it is now,” Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas said, Anatolia reported.
Turkey previously hosted Formula 1, 2010 FIBA World Championship, 2005 summer and 2011 winter Universiades and UEFA Cup 2008-2009.
Rome, Tokyo and Madrid are also bidding for the 2020 Games with Doha - who were humiliated last time round not even making the final shortlist - considering a bid, and South Africa’s Olympic Committee boss Gideon Sam hoping the government will change its mind and endorse a bid by Durban.
Potential hosts have until September 1 to announce their bids with the Interational Olympic Committee (IOC) naming the winner on September 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires.