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Erdogan says Istanbul rejection as 2020 host was unfair

Published: Updated:

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Monday that the choice of Tokyo instead of Istanbul to host the 2020 Olympic Games was unfair.

Erdogan said the choice made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meant the bloc was turning its back on the Muslim world.

“Both Tokyo and Madrid have hosted the games before; Istanbul hasn’t. It hasn’t been fair,” Erdogan was quoted as saying in Turkish media, according to Reuters news agency.

“In a way, they are cutting ties with the 1.5-billion-people Muslim world.”

Tokyo beat Istanbul by 60 votes to 36 in a head-to-head vote by IOC members in Buenos Aires on Saturday, giving the Japanese capital the Games for the second time. Madrid had been eliminated in a first round of voting.

Recent anti-government unrest in Turkey, as well as the deadly conflict in neighboring Syria is believed to have played are seen to have been the main reasons for the IOC’s decision to overlook Istanbul.

The Turkish city also failed in bids to land the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games.

Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Games, had an estimated non-Games budget of around $4.4 billion for 2020 plus $3.4 billion for the actual event, according to Reuters.

(With Reuters)