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LOCAL > Mayor asks after clashes how Istanbul can claim to host the 2020 Olympics

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Istanbul is considered closer than ever to hosting the Summer Olympics for the first time in history.

Istanbul is considered closer than ever to hosting the Summer Olympics for the first time in history.

The violent clashes that rocked Istanbul over the last few days will be difficult to explain to the the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the city's mayor Kadir Topbaş has said, describing the police's withdrawal as coming "too late."

"As Istanbul's mayor going through such an event, the fact that the whole world watched saddens me. How will we explain it? With what claims will we host the 2020 Olympic Games?" Topbaş said in an interview with private broadcaster NTV on June 1. 

Istanbul had been considered closer than ever to hosting the Summer Olympics for the first time in history, and had submitted a very ambitious bid to the IOC.

Topbaş also welcomed the withdrawal of the police during the afternoon. "It's a very correct move, but the police have been very late in pulling back. It could have been done much earlier. In democratic countries, people can gather to form ideas," he said. 

He also said he had drawn lessons from the latest unrest, especially in terms of better "informing the public" about ongoing projects, including the "artillery barracks" that are poised to replace the park.

"We could have opened a stand in Taksim Square to inform people about the project. For instance, it won't be a shopping center. Maybe there will be some shops, some cafes, art galleries, a museum. We should have made a serious information campaign," he said.


Topbaş also said the major clashes and "manipulation" could have been avoided if they had explained that only five trees were to be cut to enlarge the pedestrian path next to the park.

June/01/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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lara ulusoy

6/2/2013 10:09:50 PM

I can't believe I'm reading all this..what about all those residential complexes being built to accomodate the 17 million population who are flooding to Istanbul? Does that go through approval signatures of every citizen in Turkey?Come on have some common sense please.As for the olympics, it's the protestors who will be responsible if it got cancelled not because I'm against their cause, but because of the destruction they caused, breaking windows and smashing cars and kicking each other.. shame

Geir Fugleberg

6/2/2013 3:02:24 PM

Who profits?. Well look at the stockholders in the construction company and that could give you an idea!!! Certain relatives comes to mind!! Offcause there would not only be shops. Give me the most valuable plot of land in any given country,THEN give me unlimited almost free financing taken from the public coffers and I would certainly promise to set apart a very generous amount of space to non comercial purposes. This is plainly comical!!

Geir Fugleberg

6/2/2013 2:54:01 PM

Who profits. Well look at the stockholders in the construction company and that could give you an idea!!! Certain relatives comes to mind!!

american american

6/2/2013 1:17:23 PM

feedback from people like lara and eric martin prove that assad still has supporters even though they want turkey to send its young men to die over there and get offended when 'others' get involved in turkish internal affairs.

Ali Karp

6/2/2013 9:33:37 AM

Who needs the Olympics in Istanbul? It was just in the news that you will spend $19 plus billion for the Olympics. Is this a priority of the country? While majority of the Turks live in abject poverty, why spend $19 billion? Economists say one of the reasons Greece got into trouble with its economy is the spending on the Athens Olympics. Is that what you are after Mr. Mayor?

Murun Buchstansangur

6/2/2013 9:01:11 AM

"The fact that the whole world watched saddens [him]". But the violence doesn't?

Basil Keilani

6/2/2013 7:45:56 AM

Why does the park need to be destroyed anyway? Why does a replica of a barracks need to be build? How does it benefit the people of Istanbul more than a park? And who financially benefits from such a project, acaba (I wonder)?

Basil Keilani

6/2/2013 7:04:28 AM

What if the people of Taksim don't want a park replaced with a some barracks and shops? By building a barracks where an iconic park exists, you're insulting the people and nation. There is no barracks now. There's a park! Why build a replica of some ancient barracks that doesn't even have ruins and destroy a park?

Shahpur

6/2/2013 4:53:28 AM

What right Turkey and Erdogan has to interfer in Syria's domestic problems. Can not face the heat, get out of the Kitchen.

Eric Martin

6/2/2013 2:09:42 AM

Memo to Mayor. Turkey should not be ruled by unruly gangs and protestors.
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