60 countries support Turkey for EXPO 2020: Minister

60 countries support Turkey for EXPO 2020: Minister

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
60 countries support Turkey for EXPO 2020: Minister

Transport Minister Yıldırım speaks at a press conference about EXPO 2020. AA photo

After Turkey had talks with almost all countries’ representatives on different levels regarding İzmir’s candidacy to host EXPO 2020, 60 countries have declared their support, Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said at a press conference yesterday.

The Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) will announce the host for the World Expo, which has been held every five years since the maiden edition in London in 1851.

Turkey has already had talks with almost all 167 members of the BIE. The İzmir EXPO 2020 Executive Committee has accelerated its lobbying activities, particularly ahead of voting which will take place in Paris on Nov. 27.

Yıldırım said there are four contestant cities, Turkey’s İzmir, Russia’s Ekaterinburg, the UAE’s Dubai and Brazil’s Sao Paulo for EXPO, a six-month event. “İzmir and Milano competed in 2015, but Milano won with a slight edge. Now there are four bidding cities. We expect İzmir will achieve it,” he said.

Turkey has talks 97 pct of BIE countries

Yıldırım said Turkish delegations on the minister level, ministry representatives, EXPO authorities, embassies and the business world had talks with 97 percent of 167 BIE member countries. He added the other 3 percent was composed of bidding countries or that did not have the potential to support. As Turkey’s main theme for EXPO 2020 is health, İzmir’s advantages and competences were promoted for it to host EXPO, emphasized to the members and delegates during the talks.

Yıldırım said President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Cabinet members and foreign missions were very active about İzmir’s candidacy for EXPO. “EXPO 2020 is a main agenda topic during our president, prime minister and our visits. Support for this issue has been declared every time. Thanks to these efforts, there are currently statements of support from 60 countries,” he said, adding they aimed to win the support of more members.

Yıldırım noted they expected to host around 30 million visitors during the six months if İzmir hosts EXPO 2020. If İzmir wins EXPO, many projects will be accomplished from 2014 to 2020, he added.

Izmir’s theme is “New Routes to a Better World / Health for All.” “The goal is to show Turkey’s success in improving its health care system over the last 11 years and to show strategies and techniques to other countries that might need support,” Yıldırım said.

The EXPO 2020 executive committee is planning to create a 155 million euro budget with the purpose of helping developing countries take part in health care and social responsibility projects.