Istanbul Puts Olympic Ambitions on Hold

(ATR) Turkish IOC member Ugur Erdener tells Around the Rings that Istanbul almost certainly won't bid for the 2024 Olympics.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 05:  An aerial view of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in the Old City of Istanbul on November 5, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 05: An aerial view of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in the Old City of Istanbul on November 5, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

(ATR) Turkish IOC member Ugur Erdener tells Around the Rings that Istanbul almost certainly will not bid for the 2024 Olympics.

After losing out to Tokyo for the 2020 Games, it’s fifth tilt at the Olympics, the NOC and Turkish government have been rumored to be considering another Olympic bid.

But Erdener said that scenario was highly unlikely.

"I can say 90 percent that Istanbul will not be a candidate," the IOC Executive Board member told ATR, on the sidelines of the European Olympic Committees’ meetings in Belek, Turkey at the weekend.

"First there is a general election at beginning of June and then we will have a new government and cabinet and probably there will be meetings and discussion about this subject," he said.

"But personally I don’t expect."

Erdener added: "This is the biggest sports event and the decision belongs to the president and prime minister.

"Of course, together with the minister of sports, we can prepare some arguments and documents. But the final decision belongs to the government."

Asked if Istanbul might come back with a bid for the 2028 Olympics, he said: "I don’t know. It’s a long time ahead."

Boston, Hamburg and Rome have confirmed bids for the 2024 Games, with Budapest and Paris set to officially announce their candidacies soon.

Baku may join the field after this summer’s inaugural European Games in the Azeri capital. Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev has long considered Baku 2015 a stepping stone for an Olympic bid.

EOC president Pat Hickey said Azerbaijan was still "deliberating" on whether to enter the Olympic race.

But he told ATR in Belek that 2024 might be an Olympics too soon. "Baku will probably bid for the Olympics in future… I think it might be later," he said.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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