Why did Turkey lose the Olympic vote?
It appears that the, “They are in deep economic difficulties and can’t handle the Olympics” propaganda contributed slightly to the failure of Madrid’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Madrid is a very nice city with very nice people and could host the Olympics well, despite all the economic hardships they might be passing through. Still, they lost again.
Was it right to pin Turkey’s Olympic aspirations to the probable impacts of the “nuclear leak” fear on Tokyo’s candidacy? Of course, we cannot know whether there was a Turkish contribution to the striking escalation of the “Fukushima radiation leaks reach deadly new high” or “International concern increases over Japanese radiation leaks reaching alarming levels” stories in the international media just days before the Olympic Committee’s voting.
This was Istanbul’s fifth failure to get the Olympics, and Madrid’s third. What were the reasons? Of course, the need to reconstruct Istanbul’s infrastructure – not limited to sports facilities – might be the main reason, which indeed was reflected in the colossal $19 billion pledged to be invested to prepare the city for the Olympics hosting. Tokyo pledged $5 to 6 billion, as the city infrastructure is considered almost perfectly OK already. Madrid pledged only $2 billion, as not only did it have little need for new infrastructure, but more importantly it already has ample sports experience, having hosted a number of other high-profile international events. Turkey’s colossal pledge demonstrated Turkey’s own acknowledgement of just how bad its existing infrastructure unfortunately is.
But were those the reasons? The prime minister has been categorically and arrogantly rejecting claims that he has been transformed into a dictator. He has been saying that if he was a dictator, no one would even be able to say that he was. That’s of course another stage, but as one of my readers put it this week: “any politician who happily submits their person to a documentary on them called ‘the master’ while in office is quite likely a dictator.”
Right, the Olympics was even hosted by Nazi Germany, but the past is the past. If a government uses excessive force on demonstrators, tries to silence people by ordering anti-riot police to attack them horrendously with water cannons and gas canisters, it is difficult for that country to earn international support on any issue. If a prime minister accuses every other day university students demanding respect for nature, wider democracy or more individual rights as potential terrorists to be crushed with no mercy, his country can hardly even be considered as pseudo democracy to be stayed away from.
The prime minister has been stressing that it is wrong to accuse him of warmongering, saying he is just asking for the punishment of a government that mercilessly gassed its own people, killing more than 100,000 civilians. The prime minister is, of course, right in saying that those who horrendously gassed people to death should not get away with what they have done. However, is joining a war and pulling our people into that swamp the only appropriate punishment? Is there not a better way? Besides, are we sure that it is only the Syrian government that is responsible for the tragedy continuing?
I would love to see my aggrieved and peace loving country be honored with the Olympics. But look at the photo in the voting hall, see our delegation, and ask in honesty: Do you think such a team could get even a bronze medal?