The UK Minister for Sport and Tourism, Hugh Robertson, left Turkey on Wednesday following a high-level UK trade mission which featured meetings with senior stakeholders behind the Istanbul 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Bid.
Minister Robertson met with Turkey’s Sports Minister, Suat Kılıç, and IOC member and President of Turkey’s NOC, Uğur Erdener, in Ankara on Tuesday (19 February) before flying to Istanbul to meet with the Chairman of the Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee, Hasan Arat. The trade mission comprised over 20 UK companies, including several behind the successful hosting of the London 2012 Olympic Games such as Populous and British Telecom.
Commenting on the ministerial-led UK trade mission, Suat Kılıç, Turkey’s Sports Minister, said, “I attended the London 2012 Games which were of the highest standard. Turkey is also very ambitious to host major global sports events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. Therefore it is appropriate that we should welcome Minister Robertson and the delegation of expert UK companies to discuss how Turkey and the UK could collaborate in the future. The meetings have been very productive and I believe both sides have learnt a great deal.”
Concluding his final meetings in Turkey, Hugh Robertson, UK Minister for Sport and Tourism, said today, “This milestone trade mission comes at a time when contact between Turkey and the UK has never been stronger. These are extraordinarily exciting times for sport in Turkey. The Istanbul 2020 bid encapsulates this excitement, bringing together the city’s fantastic history in a country that showcases the best of Asia and the best of Europe. Therefore to have so much recent expertise from UK companies involved with London 2012 here in Turkey in one visit has been extremely valuable for both sides. Our experience in constructing and delivering great global events is entirely at Turkey’s disposal and we are ready to help them achieve their ambitious global sporting vision in any way we can.”
The UK trade mission is driven by Turkey’s dramatic rise as one of the world’s leading hosts of international sport events. Istanbul has hosted more than 40 major events over the last seven years, with the Olympic Candidate City hosting 12 major international sport events last year alone, including the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships, the FINA World Swimming Championships and the WTA Tour Championships, cementing its position as a trusted and capable host in the process.
Hasan Arat, Chairman of Istanbul 2020, said, “It is a great honour for Turkey to welcome this high-level UK trade delegation so soon after London 2012 which set a new benchmark of excellence for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It has been invaluable for us to meet with Hugh Robertson and the UK companies and learn first hand from their experience as we make our final preparations for the IOC Evaluation Commission visit to Istanbul in five weeks.”Uğur Erdener, IOC member and President of the Turkey’s NOC, said, “This has been an important visit for Turkish sport. There are representatives here from so many companies that made London 2012 successful. As Turkish sport is rising significantly on the world stage, I am sure that we can learn a tremendous amount from each other and enjoy many years of mutual cooperation.”