Media tycoon blames BBC's Gezi coverage for Turkey's failure to land Olympics
The Gezi Park protests continued for nearly two months, creating the largest social upheaval in the government’s current 11-year tenure. Daily News PhotoAdvertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell, who worked on Istanbul’s failed 2020 Olympic bid, has told the Leaders in Football conference it was a “tragedy” that Turkey had been passed over.
Sorrell claimed the BBC’s coverage of the Gezi Park unrest in Turkey, which started at the end of May between riot police and anti-government protesters, had influenced the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in Buenos Aires last month, the Daily Mail reported.
Sorrell said the BBC had been “unfair” on Turkey by “over-egging” the Istanbul demonstrations and that some media outlets and politicians alleged that broadcasts by the BBC and CNN International in particular had damaged their chances.
“The Istanbul protests were a significant news story. We are satisfied our coverage was accurate and impartial,” a BBC spokesman said.
The FA is looking at a possible bid for the 2024 European Championship. Turkey would be hot favorites if they prefer that option to hosting the semi-finals and final in 2020 when the tournament is spread across Europe.
Members of the IOC meeting on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires chose Tokyo, which previously hosted the Games in 1964, over Istanbul, after Madrid was dramatically eliminated following a first-round tie with the Turkish city.
The decision left the 600-member Turkish delegation, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, disappointed.
Turkey’s politicians, including EU Minister Egemen Bağış, had also put the blame on the international media coverage and Gezi Park protesters for the Olympic failure.
“Those who caused a scene at Taksim’s Gezi Park applied twice to drop Istanbul’s candidacy, and requested that Istanbul be dropped off the candidates list. Thank God they couldn’t succeed. If Istanbul loses, it will be because of them,” Bağış said Aug. 18.
The Gezi Park protests, which started after a controversial redevelopment plan in a central green area, continued for nearly two months, creating the largest social upheaval in the government’s current 11-year tenure.