Give up on Olympics bid for Istanbul: Erdoğan jokingly asks Japanese counterpart
ANKARA – Anatolia News Agency
During the press conference May 3, Erdoğan joked with the Japanese prime minister saying that he had personally asked him to drop out of the 2020 Olympics contest. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZWhile Turkey and Japan took their economic partnership up a gear with a nuclear deal worth $22 billion dollars, the heated race between Istanbul and Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympics was also on the front burner May 3, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Ankara.
During the press conference, Erdoğan joked with the Japanese prime minister saying that he had personally asked him to drop out of the contest emphasizing the fact that Istanbul had never organized the Summer Games whereas Tokyo had.
“Tokyo is our rival for the Olympics. But I told the prime minister ‘You already organized the Olympics once. Drop from the race, let us do this one, that would be convenient.’ I believe that they will be understanding and give the due instructions to Tokyo’s mayor,” Erdoğan said amid generalized laughter. Erdoğan added that Turkey was ready to work with Japan for the Olympic Games. “Expo 2020 is also very important to us and we asked for their support,” he said.
Abe responded to Erdoğan that Japan would be the first country to congratulate Turkey if Istanbul was to host the 2020 Summer Games. “We also want our people to experience the excitement of the Olympics. If Turkey wins, I want to be the first to congratulate it. If Tokyo is selected, we wish that [Erdoğan] will be the first to congratulate us,” he said.
Abe also emphasized that both countries were complementary, using a metaphor from the flags. “Japan is the sun, Turkey is the crescent and the star. If you think about a day: If either the moon, the star or the sun is lacking, we could not complete a day. I believe that both countries need each other in the same way and that their partnership will help realize big accomplishments.”
Spain’s capital Madrid is also competing for the event along with Tokyo and Istanbul. The International Olympic Committee will officially decide the host of the 2020 Games in Buenos Aires in September.