Business world to show support for Istanbul bid to host Olympics
Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç speaks at a summit held in Istanbul March 1 to support the 2020 bid.n the eve of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) crucial visit to Istanbul, one of the three bidders to host the 2020 games along with Tokyo and Madrid, Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç will hold a press meeting tomorrow together with the representatives of large local companies that have pledged their support to the city’s bid to host the games.
This comes only one week after a similar announcement by the Japanese car giant Toyota for Tokyo’s bid.
The companies to join the press meeting include Sabancı Holding, the country’s second-largest holding by assets; broadcaster Digiturk; Doğuş Holding, which has investments in many businesses including media and banking; Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier; Yıldız Holding, the food giant; and Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile operator, the ministry said in a press release yesterday.
Japan’s large companies are ready to spend money toward another Olympics in Tokyo, hoping that the Games will provide the same economic boost as the 1964 edition, Toyota’s chairman said last week.
Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose said that the city had a $4.3 billion reserve fund for construction of Olympic infrastructure, according to an official of the Tokyo bid committee.
Finishing a four-day mission to Tokyo, the IOC group is set to visit Madrid and Istanbul later this month.
The IOC’s evaluation commission has given Tokyo high marks as it wraps up the inspection of the city, The Associated Press reported yesterday. IOC Vice President Craig Reedie said yesterday that the bid organizers were “highly professional” and preparations were excellent.
During the visit, Tokyo organizers highlighted the city’s safety and advanced infrastructure, while emphasizing that 28 of the 33 competition venues will be within 8 kilometers of the Olympic Village, which will be built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay.
Japanese officials are confident of their bid despite the repercussions of a massive earthquake-sparked tsunami that crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant some 220 kilometers north of Tokyo, two years ago. Radiation was released into the environment, forcing tens of thousands of people to abandon their homes in surrounding areas.
“I have explained there is no problem at all regarding Tokyo’s air, water and food,” Teruyuki Ohno, director of environmental affairs at the municipal government, told Agence France-Presse yesterday.
After the three visits, the Olympic committee will prepare a technical report for the 101 IOC members who will vote to choose the 2020 host on Sept. 7.
The report will cover 14 themes that include vision, financing, marketing, political and public support and security, along with the sufficiency of existing and planned facilities.
If Istanbul wins the bid, it will become the first city from a majority Muslim country to host the games.
Turkey gathered an International Sports Summit on March 1, an important step toward its 2020 Olympic bid. The summit hosted the national committee of Brazil, which will host the 2016 Games.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who held the post while the city bid to host the 2012 Olympics, also lent his support to Istanbul’s Olympic bid.
“The world is changing and the Olympics should reflect this change,” Livingstone said at a luncheon in Istanbul on the sidelines of the event. The Games should no longer focus just on Europe and North America, he said.
Turkey’s European Union Minister Egemen Bağış has said Istanbul’s candidacy will also support the country’s EU membership bid, helping remove obstacles hindering Turkey’s aspirations.
“Our bid to host the Olympics will help us eliminate the biggest obstacle in our bid to becoming a member of the European Union: prejudice,” he said on March 1.