OTHERS > PM links religion to bid to host Olympic Games


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Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (2L) and his wife Emine Erdoğan attend the women’s qualification game Olympic basketball match between Turkey and Angola. REUTERS Photo

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (2L) and his wife Emine Erdoğan attend the women’s qualification game Olympic basketball match between Turkey and Angola. REUTERS Photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has questioned why the Olympic Games have never been hosted by a Muslim majority country, speaking to reporters in London.

“No country with a majority of Muslim population has ever hosted the Olympics,” Erdoğan said in London after watching the Turkish women’s basketball team beating Angola 72-50 in its first Olympic match.

“People will ask ‘Why? What is missing [in these countries]?’” he said, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdoğan and his daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan in London, where he lobbies to promote Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Erdoğan met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Jacques Rogge July 27 before attending the opening ceremony.

“It was a good meeting, the decision will be made in Rogge’s term and the next Olympic chief will follow the preparations of the host city,” the prime minister said.

Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid were all shortlisted for the 2020 Games by the IOC last month. The host of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games will be announced on Sept. 7, 2013.

Turkey is also bidding to host the 2020 European Football Championships, but both the IOC and UEFA have made it clear that the country can not host both events in the same year.

Erdoğan’s efforts in London make it clear that Turkey’s priority is hosting the Olympics. “Istanbul is a city where Europe and Asia meet, an intersection of different civilizations,” Erdoğan said.

“All European countries are suffering economic troubles, but Turkey is in a different place. We have no flaws to host the Olympics.”

The prime minister also noted that Istanbul’s rivals for the 2020 Olympics had already hosted the event. “This is the third time for London, Madrid was the host twice,” he said. “Tokyo has hosted three games. Istanbul has bid to host the Olympics five times but has never been handed the rights. This is not a fair approach, and I shared this situation with Rogge.”


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mara mcglothin

7/30/2012 7:49:57 PM

I have no doubt that Istanbul would be a great place for the Olympic games! I would love to see it happen, but like many other things in Turkey..the AKP with their backward mentality manage to derail even the best laid plans. Already Erdogan has had a run with security in London. Not everbody in the World iknows who he is, and it wouldn't have mattered if they had. Policy in most parts of the world is policy not a rule meant to be broken!


7/30/2012 6:01:59 PM

As much as I hate to admit it, DutchTurk has a point. Istanbul infrastructure has greatly improved and will do so more by 2020. Corruption will win with any bid, but outside of that Istanbul is as good a venue as any (if improvements continue). The big question though, is whether the AKP can actually continue Turkey's growth, or will there be yet another financial crises...Turkey has yet to reach any genuine level of economic stability and it could all go wrong very quickly.

mara mcglothin

7/30/2012 5:15:43 PM

All good points! AGNES AND JRC but the bottom line is in RED TAILS comment at 9:51.44am! Religion should not play a role in the determination of the Olympic games. I from time to time judge talent competitions and I never score a number to religious music because if you vote against the child then you have some how voted against religion. There are some venues where religion does NOT belong. Yeah Agnes just think of all that flesh!!!! DUTCH TURK Politics shouldnt be a factor either.

Johanna Dew

7/30/2012 5:15:37 PM

The biggest issue in Istanbul regarding infrastructure is that its overpopulated with 75% of the city not sustainable build. Every city planner can underline that. Its not about quantity but about quality on the limited space Istanbul has. Together with earthquake risk and the lowest level of oxygen in the air of metro cities in world, will be craziness. And Turkey simple cannot pay it anymore.


7/30/2012 3:21:50 PM

@HDNblogger, yeah i am serious, all those public transport projects, metro stations raising everywhere in Istanbul. Plans for a 3th bridge and a 3th airport. Well hey ever been to London? If London can handle the Olympics everywhere can. If Ukraine with it's bumpy roads and lack of hotels can host an EC Turkey can do that even better.


7/30/2012 3:20:28 PM

He has a point about Tokyo.


7/30/2012 3:13:13 PM

I imagine the PM's friends in TOKI are highly supportive of Turkey's Olympic bid, not to mention other "interested" parties. It'll be a corruption festival of the highest order.


7/30/2012 1:22:10 PM

DutchTurk, you cannot be serious. Istanbul is an infrastructural nightmare - Ataturk airport can barely function, there are daily delays because it is unable to cope with the current air traffic. The roads are no different; look what happened when one lane closed on a bridge?! How would the extra tourists, generated by the Olympics, navigate Istanbul? Taxi drivers still frequently rip off tourists, and they'd get to do it while sitting 3 hours in traffic - it would be a PR disaster.

The Prisoner

7/30/2012 12:57:21 PM

The Sultan just can't keep stum can he? I'm with 'runner up' on this including his comments regarding the Red Menace!

sam stevens

7/30/2012 12:38:23 PM

Having seen the Turkish logo with the minarets for the 2020 games, I think you have ruled yourselves out already, before the PM opened his mouth. He will always cry 'it's not fair' like a child when he cannot have his way, yes he has raised the image of Turkey globally, but unfortunately not in the way he had hoped.
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