ISTANBUL, March 6. GREECE has pledged to support Istanbul in its bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in a signed agreement between the two historically conflicting nations, as reported by Inside the Games.
"The ties between Turkey and Greece have been strengthened thanks to the power of the Olympic Movement to build bridges," 2020 Istanbul bid leader Hasan Arat said. "The closer cooperation between our countries will be a valuable and lasting legacy of our bid."
The two countries have spent nearly 200 years in on and off conflict, dating back to 1821, when Greece won its independence from the Ottoman Empire. The biggest conflict in recent history between the two nations was over the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
The agreement, signed by both nations' prime ministers, stated that the countries will "...engage in cooperation with regard to the technical and related aspects in the organization of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games," and "...explore ways of enhancing the benefits of the Olympics for the two countries." The document was one of over 20 agreements signed in Istanbul in an effort to improve the nations' relations regarding tourism, energy and telecommunications.
"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," said Turkish National Olympic Committee President Ugur Erdener. "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."
Istanbul is currently bidding against Tokyo, Japan and Madrid, Spain for the 2020 Olympics. The IOC is conducting inspections of the cities this month, with the final decision to be announced at an IOC session on September 7 in Buenos Aires.
Read the full story at: www.insidethegames.biz/olympics