Greece has pledged its full support to Turkey’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games after the Prime Ministers of both countries signed an historic agreement, underlining once again the power of the Olympic Movement to build bridges.
The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed the agreement with the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Antonis Samaras, following their meetings at the second High Level Cooperation Council in Istanbul yesterday and on Sunday. The agreement is one of more than 20 signed at the summit aimed at boosting bilateral relations across sectors like tourism, energy and telecommunications.
A joint declaration from the offices of the Prime Ministers committed both countries to “engage in cooperation with regard to the technical and related aspects in the organisation of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games” and “explore ways of enhancing the benefits of the Olympics for the two countries” and the entire region if Istanbul is awarded the Games.
Hasan Arat, Chairman of the Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee, attended the signing ceremony in Istanbul, along with a number of senior ministers and business leaders from Turkey and Greece. He said:
“The ties between Turkey and Greece have been strengthened today, thanks to the power of the Olympic Movement to build bridges. The closer cooperation between our countries will be a valuable and lasting legacy of our bid.”
IOC member and President of the Turkish NOC, Ugur Erdener, said, “This is a very symbolic agreement for Turkey as we look to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to our country for the very first time. Greece is the spiritual home of the Olympic Movement and I hope this connection will continue to grow the huge passion for hosting the Games. 94% of the people of Istanbul are behind Istanbul 2020. We have had very close relations with Greece on sport for many years. I believe that this agreement will create even more opportunities.”