The Norman Transcript


June 26, 2013

Bidding for glory



The report also noted that Turkey shares a border with Syria, which is currently engaged in a civil war that is driving refugees into Turkey.

“The conflict in Syria presents security risks, although the main effects appear to be in the southeast of the country,” the IOC said.

Istanbul bid leader Hasan Arat said the report showed that the Turkish effort is “firmly on track.”

“‘We know that we are at least on an equal footing with others in this race,” he said.

The report was finalized on April 19 before the start of protests in Turkey, the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 10-year rule.

“The situation is now largely peaceful,” Arat said in a conference call. “The violence that hijacked the peaceful protests has subsided.”

Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kilic also downplayed the impact of the protests.

“The Turkish people and the people of Istanbul want the Olympics,” he said. “The Turkish democracy is strong enough and experienced enough to surmount small societal incidents.”

The IOC report noted that Istanbul would place emphasis “on the use of social media, particularly with regard to engaging young people.” By contrast, Erdogan recently denounced Twitter — and its use by protesters — as “the worse menace in society.”

Madrid’s bid has a capital construction budget of only $1.9 billion, based on the use of 28 existing venues. The IOC praised Madrid’s compact layout, short travel times for athletes and “vibrant festival” atmosphere.

Spain has been in recession for most of the past four years and has a 27.2 percent unemployment rate. While Madrid organizers “could still face some risks associated with the state of the Spanish economy,” the IOC said the Spanish government reports the economy is showing signs of recovery.

“The commission believes that the degree of financial risk facing Madrid 2020 should be manageable over seven years within the Spanish economy and taking into account government guarantees,” the IOC report said.

Madrid bid chief Alejandro Blanco welcomed the “truly impressive” report.

“We have not won anything yet and there is still much to do,” he said.

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