EU minister: Istanbul is ready for 2020 Olympics

EU minister: Istanbul is ready for 2020 Olympics

EU minister: Istanbul is ready for 2020 Olympics

EU Minister Bağış says hosting the Olympics is Turkey’s main target. AA photo

European Union Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış has insisted on Turkey’s willingness to host international sports events, including the Olympics. 

Speaking at the inaugural International Herald Tribune Sports Business Summit held in Istanbul, Bağış said Istanbul was ready to host the Olympic Games. 

“We are shouting loud and clear to the world that we are ready to host the Olympics,” Bağış said. “It is not Istanbul’s mistake that the Olympics have never been organized here, it is the Olympics’ mistake. We aim to correct this mistake,” he said.

Istanbul is in the running to host the 2020 Olympic Games along with Tokyo, Madrid, Doha and Baku. The cities put in applications in February and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide on May 23 which cities are approved as official candidates. 

The election of the host city will be held next year.

Last month, Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç hailed Istanbul’s bid as the “strongest.” 

“Turkey is the strongest candidate,” Kılıç said as he unveiled the details of the bid. “This city is bidding for the Olympic Games with a greater will than ever.” 

Turkey also aims to host the 2020 European Football Championships, although the prospect of hosting two major events in the same summer season raised the eyebrows of some authorities, including the UEFA President Michel Platini. 

“We respect the Turkish Football Federation’s bid for the Euro 2020 and we support it,” Bağış said yesterday. “But the Olympics are a major target for us, for the state, the nation, the whole country.”