Factfile: Istanbul 2020 Summer Olympics bid

Agence France-Presse
Factfile on Istanbul, one of three cities bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Factfile on Istanbul, one of three cities bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, ahead of the vote on Saturday, September 7, by the International Olympic Committee members in Buenos Aires.


A general view of Hagia Sophia Museum during sunset, in Istanbul, Turkey on 16 August 2011. EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

Status: Biggest city in Turkey

Population: 13.85 millions according to 2012 census, but more than 15million according to the majority of estimates.

Size: 5,343 square kilometers

Geographical situation: North-west of Turkey, bridging European and Asian continents, Istanbul is the administrative capital of the region of the same name. Summer the temperatures are generally above 30 degrees celsius and humid.

History: First called Byzantium when it was built in the 7th century BC. It then became Constantinople in 324AD in honor of the Holy Roman Emperor Constantine I. The ‘new Rome’ was the capital of the Roman Empire then of the Byzantine Empire in 476, till it fell in 1453. The Ottoman Empire made it its capital under the name of Istanbul till it was overthrown in 1920 and replaced by the Turkish Republic in 1923. As a result Istanbul lost its status of capital in favor of Ankara.

Logo courtesy Istanbul 2020 Bid CommitteeOlympic Games hosted: 0

Number of times bidders: 5 (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2020).

Number of Olympic Games (Winter and Summer) hosted in country: 0

Provisional budget for 2020: $22.1 billion, including $16.6 billion for sporting and transport infrastructure.

Leading member of delegation to Buenos Aires: Former Mayor of Istanbul and now Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was determined to lead from the front and head the delegation. The strong man of the country, he is the symbol of political stability and economic growth which has occurred since the arrival in power of his conservative Muslim party in 2002.

However, the heavy-handed treatment of anti-government protests in Turkey in June seriously damaged his image and reputation.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by his deputy and Economics Minister Ali Babacan, Minister for Sports Suat Kilic and the present Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas.

Bid slogan: “bridge together”.

Dossier: Istanbul plays a lot on the unique geographical location offering the first Olympics to take place on two continents, Europe and Asia, on each side of the Bosphorous. The proposed Olympic venues are in four different areas in a city where the transport system is a daily nightmare for the inhabitants.

State of play: The majority of Olympic sites are yet to be built, notably the stadium on the Asian side of the Bosphorous which is due to host both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Among the major projects, only the Ataturk Stadium, programmed for the athletics, already exists. – Rappler.com


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