Turkish Olympic Committee President UÄŸur Erdener has provided the strongest indication yet that Istanbul hopes to bid again for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, with a final decision likely to be made in November or December.
The city has bid for five of the last six Summer Games, being eliminated at the applicant stage for the 2004 edition eventually awarded to Athens, and reaching the candidature stage of the the 2000, 2008 and 2012 versions won by Sydney, Beijing and London respectively.
Last September, Turkey’s financial capital was beaten in the contest for the 2020 Games by Tokyo.
The Japanese capital earned 60 votes to Istanbul’s 36 after Madrid had been eliminated in the first round.
Widespread demonstrations and civil unrest in the city leading up to the vote contributed to his defeat.
But Erdener, speaking here during the Summer Youth Olympic Games, claimed the country is fully in support of another attempt, and is waiting to see the results of the ongoing Olympic Agenda 2020 process to confirm its final decision.
“The Turkish nation, our community, is ready to host an Olympic Games,” he said.
“Our Government and our people are ready.
“In some countries and cities, according to survey results, people don’t agree with these kind of big organisations and they think there are negative affects of bidding.
“But Istanbul had the highest amount of public support for 2020 and the Turkish nation strongly supports Olympic ideas.”
Any decision on whether Istanbul bids or not is likely to rest with Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan, currently the Prime Minister, but who is due to take over as President following his victory in last week’s election in Turkey.
Until now, the Presidential role in Turkey has been largely a ceremonial role but under ErdoÄŸan the position is set to become much more powerful.
“We will sit together with the Government authorities and the President and we will have a decision, probably in November and December,” said Erdener.
Erdener highlighted a law in the Istanbul Parliament that means the city will always consider a bid for the Olympics, until it is successful, while he also claimed that the city now has a well of bidding knowledge following his most recent attempt.
A number of other European cities are considering bids for 2024, including Paris on what would be the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Games there, as well as Rome, Berlin and Hamburg.
But it is assumed, though, that American city will start as the favourite, particularly after the signing of a long-term agreement between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and broadcasting giants NBC Universal in June.
With the process to select host cities currently being reappraised, all of the contenders are awaiting the outcome of Agenda 2020, due to be decided upon at the IOC Session in Monte Carlo on December 8 and 9, before making a final decision either way.
Erdener, a major player in the Olympic Movement who is also the President of World Archery and a member of the IOC’s ruling Executive Board, also expressed his hope that a distinction is made between the Games-specific and infrastructural budgets as part of these changes.
This would avoid a repeat of the widespread reports that the Winter Olympics in Sochi had cost $50 billion (£30 billion/€37 billion) when this total was actually an amalgamation of the wider infrastructural work as well as what was spent by the Organising Committee.
“This is very important from the IOC side,” Erdener said.