News / Europe

Officials: Turkey Protests Will Not Affect 2020 Olympic Bid

An advertising banner of Istanbul 2020, candidate city for the Olympics, is displayed on the Galata bridge in Istanbul, June 5, 2013.
An advertising banner of Istanbul 2020, candidate city for the Olympics, is displayed on the Galata bridge in Istanbul, June 5, 2013.
Reuters
Violent protests that have hit Turkey over recent days need to end swiftly but will have no bearing on Istanbul's candidacy to host the 2020 Olympics, bid leaders said on Wednesday.
 
Turkey is also scheduled to host the Under-20 soccer World Cup, starting on June 21, and the sport's world governing body FIFA said the tournament would go ahead as planned.

Riot police have cleared the Istanbul square at the center of almost two weeks of protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
 
“The feedback Istanbul 2020 has received from IOC [International Olympic Committee] members and the wider Olympic family continues to be positive and very understanding,” bid officials said in a statement.  "While they are obviously as keen as we are for a swift and peaceful resolution, the majority of people we have spoken to recognize that 2020 is still seven years away.”
 
Istanbul is bidding for the fifth time in the last six IOC votes for the summer Olympics with Japan's Tokyo and Spanish capital Madrid also in the running. The IOC will elect the winning bid in September.
 
Turkey's biggest city, whose bid is called “Bridge Together”, has highlighted its location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and is eager to become the first city of a majority Muslim country to land the world's biggest multi-sports event.
 
The city saw more fighting overnight with police in running battles with pockets of demonstrators, clearing Taksim Square which by dawn was strewn with wreckage from bulldozed barricades.
 
Several hundred protesters remained in an encampment of tents in nearby Gezi Park.
 
Erdogan, who has dismissed the demonstrators as “riff-raff”, was due to meet a group of public figures to discuss the unrest, which began as a peaceful campaign against plans to build on the park abutting the square.
 
“This situation will have no bearing on our ability to deliver our Games concept, which was designed after consultation with environmental groups and NGOs [non-governmental organizations],” Istanbul 2020 said. “This is a bid for the people of Turkey and we are united by our passion to bring the Games here for the first time. Istanbul 2020, and the 20-year dream of the Turkish people, will not be affected by these events.”
 
Calm down
 
Bid cities are due to attend a meeting of national Olympic Committees in Lausanne in Switzerland later this week with Istanbul planning to offer “assurances” there.
 
Bidders will also attend a key IOC meeting in Lausanne on July 3 to present their files to all members for the first time.
 
Like the Olympic bid, Turkey hopes the hosting of the Under-20 soccer World Cup will be unaffected by the recent protests with FIFA president Sepp Blatter saying football was a good way of uniting people.
 
“We have been in contact with the political authorities in Turkey since the conflict arose in the country and guarantees have been given that nothing will happen,” he told reporters. “What is more, we are sure that football can help calm down the situation because the tournament will be played in seven cities and it's a good opportunity to show that football can bring people together.
 
“Football connects people all over the world, can you imagine that football is being played in Syria every day, in Kabul, not to mention Iraq and Libya although a fixture had to be moved from Benghazi to Tripoli,” he added. “We shall not remove football under any circumstances.”
  • A protester makes the victory sign as he sits outside Gezi Park in front of riot police vehicles at Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 14, 2013.
  • Protesters watch a film in Gezi Park in Istanbul, June 14, 2013.
  • German pianist Davide Martello is surrounded by anti-government protesters as he performs in Istanbul's Taksim Square, June 13, 2013.
  • Protesters stand in front of a barricade at Gezi park, Istanbul, June 13, 2013.
  • Taksim Square is flooded by tear gas during clashes between protesters and riot police, Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • Police operate during clashes at Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester tries to take cover from a water cannon fired by police during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester throws a tear gas canister back at police during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester throws a gas bomb towards riot police during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester throws a petrol bomb towards a crowd control vehicle in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A crowd control vehicle fires a water cannon against protesters in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • A protester walks in front of a burning barricade during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.
  • Protesters carry another protester affected by tear gas during clashes in Taksim Square in Istanbul, June 11, 2013.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More