Istanbul 2020 announced that seven of Turkey’s largest companies will unite to sponsor the nation’s bid to host its first Olympic and Paralympic Games in a series of deals worth more than $20M. The deal was signed following a private dinner hosted in Istanbul by Turkey Minister of Youth and Sports Suat Kiliç. The seven Istanbul 2020 national sponsors are: Digiturk; Doğuş Holding; Koç Holding; Sabancı Holding; Turkcell; Turkish Airlines; and Ülker (Istanbul 2020). REUTERS' Karolos Grohmann reported Istanbul 2020 Olympic bid officials unveiled the sponsorship deals "as they seek to pitch the country's growing economic clout as an asset for their candidacy." Bid leader Hasan Arat said, "This is the largest private sector investment in any sports bid in Turkish history. It reflects Turkey's remarkable economic growth in the past five years." A forecast supported by the World Bank predicted growth would rise to 4% in '13. Arat added, "If you don't have a strong economy you cannot handle this operation (Olympics) because there is a huge amount of investment" (REUTERS, 1/21).