The IOC Evaluation Commission concluded its inspection of Istanbul today with a final press conference to over 200 international and Turkish media and declared that they had an “excellent impression” of the Istanbul 2020 bid.
In a press conference at the Four Seasons Bosphorus Hotel, Chairman of the IOC Evaluation Commission, Sir Craig Reedie, said:
“The IOC 2020 Evaluation Commission has been very pleased to spend time here in the extraordinary city of Istanbul. We have an excellent impression of the Bid Committee, and we have witnessed the strong support that the bid enjoys from the government, which was highlighted by the presence of President Gül this week. It has been a great pleasure to meet with so many Olympians, Paralympians, athletes and the Bid Committee – we have seen the enthusiasm for the Olympic Games that exists here in Istanbul.”
The IOC press conference was followed by an Istanbul 2020 press conference presented by Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Suat Kılıç; Chairman of the Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee, Hasan Arat; IOC member and President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, Uğur Erdener; Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş; CEO of Istanbul 2020, Ali Kiremitçioğlu; President of the National Paralympic Committee of Turkey, Yavuz Kocaömer; and Paralympic archer, Gizem Girişmen.
Turkey’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Suat Kılıç said:
“Istanbul has a young population which is excited about the Olympics. We have 11 million people who want the Games to come to Istanbul and 50% of those people are under the age of 25. Istanbul has been vocal about its ambitions for the Olympics. We are a humble city but have a long history as a bridge between different cultures and faiths.”
He went on to emphasise the seniority of the people who had presented to the Evaluation Commission during the visit, including the Ministers of Finance, Tourism and Transport for the theme briefings, along with the President and Prime Minister of Turkey at the official welcome and gala dinner respectively.
Commenting on the IOC Evaluation Commission’s remarks, Chairman of Istanbul 2020, Hasan Arat, said:
“We are so grateful to Sir Craig Reedie, Gilbert Felli, and the distinguished members of the IOC Evaluation Commission. This has been an incredible week for us; we have all been so impressed by the diligence, professionalism, and rigorous approach that the IOC Evaluation Commission has taken over these last few days. It has been a wonderful experience and a great learning process on our journey towards hosting the greatest prize of all. Istanbul 2020 is now better equipped than ever to deliver on our promises and on our vision.”
IOC member and President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, Uğur Erdener, said:
“As an IOC member and President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, I am particularly proud that, today, Istanbul’s Olympic ambitions received such positive feedback. This has been a long journey to get to this point, and all of Turkey will today feel that we are closer than ever to securing our nation’s first ever Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Evaluation Commission has tested our concept, and asked us many questions. I am sure that the Commission members have felt our passion, commitment and dedication to excellence. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate our fellow bid cities, Madrid and Tokyo, for the continued high standards of their candidature. We look forward to the final months of this exciting race.”
The Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş, commented on what hosting the Olympic Games would mean to Istanbul:
“The Istanbul 2020 bid has been a long process. Istanbul was to raise its voice and deliver a message of peace. This message has been embedded in us for many years as Istanbul has always been a home to multiple cultures. We want to use sport to continue to deliver our message of peace. It has always been our dream to host the Games; I hope we will have the honour of doing this in 2020.”