IOC delegation's Istanbul visit kicks off with an enthusiastic welcome
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation arrives at Istanbul's Atatürk airport on March 23.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation, set to assess Istanbul’s bid to host 2020 Olympic Games, were given a star’s welcome as they arrived in the candidate city on March 23.
The 15-member IOC team, which has previously paid visits to other candidate cities Tokyo and Madrid, embarks today on a four-day visit in Istanbul where they will observe the preparations and meet several Turkish governmental officials, as well as the Istanbul mayor and governor.
The Turkish Olympic Committee, as well as the Istanbul municipality, appeared determined to make a positive first impression as an energized crowd of young people eagerly awaited the IOC members’ arrival at Istanbul’s Atatürk airport. The delegation was welcomed with chants of “We are ready” and flags supporting Istanbul’s bid.
The enthusiasm appeared to spread to the head of the delegation, Sir Craig Reedie, who was photographed giving a high-five to children in the excited crowd.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül is also expected to address the IOC members in a video conference on March 24.
Sports Minister Suat Kılıç will hold a meeting with the committee on March 24, Minister of Finance Mehmet Şimşek on March 25, and Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik and Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım on March 26.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also host the committee for a dinner at the historic Esma Sultan Mansion located in the Ortaköy neighborhood, along the Bosphorus, on March 26.
The group will make visits to the sports facilities in Istanbul, including the 76,000-seat Atatürk Olympic Stadium, and the 52,000-seat Seyrantepe Stadium.