Istanbul 2020 CEO Hazan Arat Unfazed By Recent Protests, Doping Violations
In recent months, blows have "rained down" on Istanbul's 2020 Olympic bid with anti-government protests "rocking the country, and dozens of Turkish athletes banned for doping," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. But Istanbul 2020 CEO Hasan Arat said that "to suffer those ups and downs over the course of an Olympic bid is normal." Less than a month before the Sept. 7 vote of the IOC, Arat said that "these issues were not fundamental problems for the country, attempting to become the first nation with a majority Muslim population to stage the world's biggest multi-sports event." Arat: "The protests are over in Turkey. There is no problem anymore, this is not a fundamental problem for Turkey." Turkey "was hit by a wave of weeks-long protests in June." Concerns "have also been raised regarding a possible security fallout from the neighboring Syrian conflict." Arat: "It is a long journey, the preparation is three years and then another seven years if you are awarded the Games. There could be up and downs. That's very normal" (REUTERS, 8/12).