Istanbul ready for key IOC visit in Olympic Games bid

Istanbul ready for key IOC visit in Olympic Games bid

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul ready for key IOC visit in Olympic Games bid

Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç (C) speaks at a sponsorship event on Istanbul’s 2020 bid. AA photo

A group from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to arrive in Istanbul on March 23 to observe the city’s preparations for its 2020 Olympic Games bid.

The 15-member IOC team, which has previously paid visits to other candidate cities Tokyo and Madrid, is set to kick off its four-day visit in Istanbul after a meeting in the Four Seasons Hotel.

Nearly 200 foreign journalists will accompany the IOC team, which will make visits to assess Istanbul’s 2020 Olympic bid.

The IOC will finally decide on the host of the 2020 Olympic Games after voting in Buenos Aires on Sept. 10.

Turkish ministers, as well as the Istanbul mayor and governor, will inform the committee and make their bid in several meetings during their visit.

Turkish President Abdullah Gül will also address the IOC members in a video-conference on March 24.

Top-level meetings

Sports Minister Suat Kılıç will hold a meeting with the committee on March 24, Minister of Finance Mehmet Şimşek on March 25, and Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik and Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım on March 26.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also host the committee for a dinner at the historic Esma Sultan Mansion located in the Ortaköy neighborhood along the Bosphorus on March 26.

“Istanbul embodies all the values represented by the Olympics as the only city in the world located on two continents. Istanbul is a meeting point of civilizations and cultures. We believe that the world needs the values represented in Istanbul,” Kılıç said in a statement issued by the Sports Ministry.

The group will make visits to the sports facilities in Istanbul, including the 76,000-seat Atatürk Olympic Stadium, and the 52,000-seat Seyrantepe Stadium.

Earlier this year, Turkish National Olympic Committee (TMOK) chairman Uğur Erdener said Istanbul is readier than ever to host the Games after multiple failed efforts. He added Istanbul had enough experience in organizing top sports events.

“Istanbul has garnered serious experience recently, having hosted more than 20 high-profile international sports events in the last few years,” he said.

“The Istanbul 2020 team has worked really hard to create a concept where the athletes will be given the best possible conditions to show their best performances,” Erdener added.