POSTED: July 3rd 2013

Deputy PM Babacan leads Istanbul 2020 presentation to the International Olympic Committee at 2020 Candidate Cities Briefing

(L to R) Suat Kilic, Minister for Youth and Sport, Ali Babacan, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey for Economic and Financial Affairs, and Hasan Arat, head of the bid / SFC
(L to R) Suat Kilic, Minister for Youth and Sport, Ali Babacan, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey for Economic and Financial Affairs, and Hasan Arat, head of the bid / SFC

CHAD WISE and LAURA WALDEN at the Beaulieu Convention Center / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The Istanbul 2020 delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey for Economic and Financial Affairs Ali Babacan, presented its bid to the International Olympic Committee at the 2020 Candidate Cities Briefing in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday.

Babacan was joined in Lausanne by Turkey’s Minister for Youth and Sport Suat Kilic, Istanbul 2020 Chairman Hasan Arat, IOC Member and Turkish National Olympic Committee President Ugur Erdener, TOKI President Ahmet Haluk Karabel, Istanbul 2020 Chief Executive Officer Ali Kiremitcioglu, Istanbul 2020 Director for Sport Alp Berker, Istanbul 2020 Bid Ambassadors Gizem Girismen and Neslihan Darnel, and top-ranked Turkish tennis player Cagla Buyukakcay.

“Since 2002, our GDP per capita has tripled,” Babacan said. “In the past four years, we have created 4.8 million new jobs for our people. We have one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe. We can completely accommodate the guarantees and games scope in our national finances. It may seem that the Istanbul 2020 non-OCOG budget of $19.4 billion is very large, but my government is already investing most of this budget anyway. $16.5 billion dollars of investments are already underway, leaving $2.9 billion for the unique needs of the Games. That is less than 1% of our overall investment budget over the next seven years.

“For the first time ever, a bidding city already has the governance structures and funding in place before its election. Our Olympic Law was enacted more than 20 years ago and mandates full government support. We do not need new legislation, additional guarantees or any bureaucratic process to move the Games forward. Our Games infrastructure agency, TOKO . . . has built 600,000 new residences in the last 10 years – that’s the equivalent of five Olympic Villages every year. Today, TOKO has the necessary funds and land to build all the infrastructure for the Games.”

During the press conference Babacan was questioned about the protests that have been going on all over Turkey recently and he said he welcomed peaceful protests. However things grew violent when police stepped in with tear gas and strong water cannons to break up the protest. Babacan also defended the reaction then later admitted that the police in their reaction had made some mistakes.

Ironically the IOC assembly didn't query any possible security risks to the bid team. There were seven people killed during the protests and nine people are still missing of 147 missing people reports.

“In Mersin, we accomplished a rather difficult challenge,” Kilic said. “We built 12 new Olympic-calibre venues within only 18 months of being awarded these Games, with the help of our colleagues at TOKI. All services, including transportation, security, accommodation, medical and ticketing were delivered according to the plan. This was an important test of our ability to deliver.”

“Istanbul’s 2020 Games vision is perfectly aligned with Turkey’s 2023 Master Plan,” Arat said. “It is already in motion and delivers certainty, equally for the Games of 2020 and the city of Istanbul. Our city needs more transportation infrastructure, and we are building it. Our urban population needs more sports facilities, and we are developing them. Our young people need role models, and the Games offers them.”

“We want our Games to highlight sport in its best possible setting, across two continents, showcasing our diversity, and a Games Plan that balances compactness and operational effectiveness,” Erdener said. “A plan that is actually very similar in scale to those of the past several Olympic Games. A Games in Istanbul will provide a stunning theatre, capturing the world’s imagination.”

Istanbul is bidding against Madrid and Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee will award the Host City at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires 7 September.

Keywords · Istanbul 2020 · Lausanne · Switzerland · Turkey · Olympics · International Olympic Committee ·

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