Turkish President history
Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül today told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission that choosing Istanbul to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics would send a historic message that would be heard around the world, with far-reaching consequences.
This is the final four-day inspection to be carried out by the Commission, chaired by Britain’s Sir Craig Reedie, having earlier visited Tokyo and Madrid, but is perhaps the most crucial because if Istanbul was chosen it is the city which requires the most work and would have to invest the most.
But, it is also potentially the most exciting choice, because it would be the first time that the Olympics would be held on two different continents, thanks to Istanbul’s unique location, straddling Europe and Asia, with the Bosphorus running through the middle.
This, combined with Turkey’s growing force as an economic power and its increasing political influence in the world, would make it a truly historic choice.
“It would immerse the Olympic Family in a brand new environment with a rich history and a fascinating culture unlike any other city in the world, ” Gül said. ”It is self evident in its architecture where you see mosques, churches and synagogues standing next to each other that Istanbul has a broader and unique outreach to different regions, cultures and faiths that have yet to be directly touched by the Olympic spirit.”
Gül later explained what effect Istanbul hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics could have on an area facing difficult problems at the moment.
“Holding the Olympics in Turkey would have an impact on the Muslim world, ” said Gül, Turkey’s first openly devout Muslim President in the modern history of Turkey. ”It would show that the Olympics is truly universal and embraces everyone. It would be very positive for the world. It would have positive developments, not just in the Middle East, but the world at large because we are seeing many political problems, cultural differences or issues related to religion, including racism on the rise.