İstanbul loses 2020 Olympics bid out to Tokyo in final round


Turkey’s candidate city to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, İstanbul, has lost its bid out to Tokyo at the end of a final voting by members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday, APA reports quoting Today’s Zaman.

Madrid was eliminated in the first round of voting to decide the host of the 2020 summer Olympic Games, leaving Tokyo and İstanbul to battle it out in a final round of voting.

Madrid initially tied with İstanbul as an also-ran in the voting by the International Olympic Committee. İstanbul won the tiebreak vote 49-45. İstanbul then competed with Tokyo in a final head-to-head ballot.

The final winner was announced at 23:00 (Turkey time), when IOC President Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope following a second round of secret voting.

In initial comments on the voting, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the IOC decision “should be respected.”

İstanbul 2020 would have been the first Olympics to be held in a predominantly Muslim country and the first to be staged across two continents simultaneously - Asia and Europe if it had won the bid.

İstanbul, Madrid and Tokyo made 45-minute presentations Saturday morning ahead of the vote later in the day by the International Olympic Committee. İstanbul, making its fifth overall bid, was up first. The Turkish delegation pressed its case to take the Olympics for the first time to a predominantly Muslim country, to a city linking the two continents of Europe and Asia. With the civil war in neighboring Syria posing a major issue for the İstanbul bid, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said taking the games to Turkey "will send a very meaningful and strong message, not only to the world, but to our broader region." "At this critical moment, we would like to send a strong message of peace to the whole world from İstanbul," Erdoğan said. After the formal presentation, IOC member Prince Albert of Monaco asked what hosting the games in Turkey would mean to the wider region. "We believe that hosting the Olympics in İstanbul will give this signal, this spirit of friendship and sharing and peace," Erdoğan said. "And our country is a place where there is a lot of unity and diversity and that is the idea that we can share on a broader scale with the Olympic Games being hosted in Turkey.

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