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SBD Global/June 25, 2013/Olympics

Turkey Focused On Istanbul 2020 Olympic Bid Despite Country's Recent Protests

A sporting event seven years from now may not be the priority for a country in the midst of its biggest political crisis in years, "yet while the protests in Istanbul have rocked the country and sent shockwaves across the world, Turkey remains focused on securing the 2020 Olympics," according to James Riach of the London GUARDIAN. A youthful and vibrant population (50% of Turkey's 76 million inhabitants are under 25) "was regarded as one of the bid's key strengths." However, the police's handling of the recent protests in Taksim Square that began following a peaceful demonstration against the pending redevelopment of neighboring Gezi Park "has caused widespread condemnation." Approximately 5,000 people "have been injured during the protests and at least four have died." The IOC must decide whether Istanbul is now a risky option, "despite the bid's clear strengths." Avoiding controversy "is a key factor for the IOC." The organization said that "with every infrastructural problem ahead of the Rio 2016 Games, Tokyo's chances increased" (GUARDIAN, 6/24).
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