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March 27, 2013, Wednesday

İstanbul 2020: more than the Olympics

İstanbul has applied to host the 2020 Olympics, and the decision-making process is under way. The other contenders are Madrid and Tokyo, and the decision will be announced in September.

İstanbul has a big chance of hosting the Olympics for a number of reasons.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (TMOK) have undertaken the bidding process together with the mayor and governor of İstanbul. The private sector stands firmly behind İstanbul 2020 with the largest Turkish companies joining in as Olympic sponsors. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself, who has had the dream of bringing the Olympics to İstanbul since he was mayor of the city in the 1990s, is following the bidding process closely. Together with the members of the TMOK, Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç has brought vision, discipline and dynamism to the task of hosting the 2020 Olympics in İstanbul.

İstanbul deserves to host the 2020 Olympics because the world is changing in multiple ways, Turkey is rising as a global actor and İstanbul is emerging as a world city.

The world has changed in more than one way since the end of the Cold War. Walls of separation have been demolished and new horizons have arisen. Globalization has turned our world into a global village with numerous residents and multiple identities. It has blurred the lines between what is local, regional and global. Everything has become national and transnational, local and global, simple and complicated all at once.

This does not make the present state of the world perfect, equal or fair. It remains a fundamental moral and political responsibility for us to work for peace and justice for all, and make the world a home for all of its inhabitants without prejudice or discrimination. The core values of the Olympics, i.e., respect, excellence and friendship, which have been enshrined in the Olympic Games for decades, go beyond sports and underlie our collective responsibility for fair-play in all aspects of life.

Turkey embodies these values. Turkey's new global standing in the world is a result of its new vision that combines the local, national, regional and global. With its young, dynamic and multicultural population, Turkey has emerged as a regional economic power and a global actor. Turkey's long history and rich experience of cultural diversity presents it with a unique opportunity to build a future based on the principles of fair-play, creativity, innovation and openness. Turkey is justified in all measures for its confidence in the 2020 Olympics bid.

The 2020 Olympics is in perfect harmony with Turkey's 2023 vision. The Turkey 2023 vision is more than megaprojects, new jobs or more housing. It is a vision that seeks to embrace history, tradition, creativity, innovation and passion for excellence. 

Turkey's stellar economic success over the last 10 years has catapulted it into a new league in the world of rising economic powers. Erdoğan has changed the logic of doing business in Turkey and transformed both the state and private sectors' perspectives on investment and development. İstanbul, Turkey's cultural, financial and media center, has been the most salutary beneficiary of this paradigm shift in urban development.

With nearly 10,000 years of known history, İstanbul is one of the most ancient global cities. It is the meeting place of history, geography, culture, creativity, aesthetics, tradition and modernity all at once. İstanbul has been a global city even before globalization became fact in the 21st century.

Like the world in which we live, İstanbul embraces multiple identities and never falls short of surprising you – a quality that all the great cities of the world possess. It is a traditional and modern city. It belongs to the East and the West, Europe and Asia. It is a commercial hub and cultural center. It is a haven for traditional and modern arts, cinema, music, education, multinational conferences, forums and much more.

Hosting the 2020 Olympics in İstanbul will add a new dimension and depth to the greatest sporting event in the world. It will send a powerful message to millions of young people, athletes and ordinary citizens about the true spirit of the Olympics.

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