Dubai chosen to host World EXPO 2020 over İzmir and Ekaterinburg

Dubai chosen to host World EXPO 2020 over İzmir and Ekaterinburg

Dubai chosen to host World EXPO 2020 over İzmir and Ekaterinburg

Izmir's bid competed with economically dynamic cities such as Sao Paulo in Brazil and Ekaterinburg in Russia. 'The pearl of the desert,' Dubai, won the final vote. DHA photo

İzmir’s bid to host the World EXPO 2020 ended in disappointment on Nov. 27, after the Aegean city was eliminated in the second round of voting by delegates of the Bureau of International Expositions. Dubai won over Ekaterinburg in the final round to bring the world's fair to the Middle East for the first time ever.

İzmir received 36 votes in the second round of voting, while Dubai advanced to the final round with 87 votes to Ekaterinburg’s 41. Sao Paulo was eliminated in the first round of the voting.

Dubai won the race after receiving 116 votes in the last round to Ekaterinburg’s 47. 
Despite competing with economically dynamic cities, İzmir was unable to seal the deal with its theme, “New Routes to a Better World / Health for All.”
The Turkish delegation was headed by Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım. Yıldırım said ahead of the voting that the Turkish delegation made up of ministry representatives, EXPO authorities, embassies and the business world had held talks with 97 percent of the 167 BIE member countries.

Turkey slams voting, calls for ‘strengthening’ of selection rules

After the announcement of the results, Yıldırım harshly criticized Dubai’s selection and slammed the voting process to host such world events. 

“This voting has proved one more reality: The credibility of these sorts of organizations will be questioned more from now on. In fact, the loser is not İzmir, nor Turkey, but those candidates that aim to obtain results [while ignoring] ethical values,” Yıldırım told reporters in his first reaction following the vote.

“What should be done now is to outline stronger principles and rules for the selection systems and methods for such events. The residents of İzmir should know that nothing has changed from our point of view. İzmir has not lost, but won. We have done everything that we should have within the boundaries of legitimacy,” he added. 

For his part, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu insisted on the importance of İzmir’s theme, health, which was inspired by Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” who was a past inhabitant of the Aegean city. He also slammed what he referred to as “intrigues” during the voting process.

“There is no reason to let the voting bring our motivation down. We have to take lessons from the intrigues that have happened here. There have been very clear intrigues,” Müezzinoğlu said.
World Expos, which participating countries use to showcase technological prowess, culture and architecture, are held every five years for six months. Milan will host the next one in 2015. Last year, Astana, Kazakhstan was awarded the 2017 World Expo. The last EXPO was hosted by Shangai in 2010.