January 8 - Istanbul today published details of its bid to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, promising a Games set against an "incomparable backdrop" of Europe and Asia, the first time it will have been staged on two continents simultaneously.
The plans include the regeneration of the Haydarpaşa Port area, including 625 hectares of reclaimed green space.
"An incomparable Games backdrop" is one of three pillars of Istanbul's bid, along with technical excellence and a profound legacy impact.
Istanbul was the only of the three cities bidding that did not hold a press conference to publish its Candidature file a day after it delivered it to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne.
But it is expected to stage an event later this month to help add momentum to its campaign.
"This is a new bid for a new Turkey," said Hasan Arat, the Istanbul 2020 leader (pictured above).
"We are ready to offer the IOC a rare combination: tried and tested delivery structures, but in a fresh market rich in potential.
"This is our fifth bid and it has arrived at the perfect moment for Istanbul, for Turkey and, we believe, for the Olympic Movement.
"Now is the time for Istanbul 2020."
Istanbul's budget at $19.2 billion (£11.9 million/€14.6 billion) is higher than that of its rivals, but officials claim it has been guaranteed by the Government and was largely accounted for by major infrastructure projects that would proceed with or without the Games.
This bid is the latest phase of a journey in Turkey that began with the Olympic Law in 1992 and has encompassed five bids in the last two decades.
Istanbul's 2020 Games vision is aligned perfectly to The 2023 Master Plan: Turkey's ambitious long-term development programme culminating in the centenary of the Republic in 2023, Istanbul officials claimed.
Under the plan published today, the Games would be hosted across four zones of the city, each with a compelling sustainability theme, comprising seven clusters and five precincts.
Of the 36 proposed venues, ten are already planned, a further 11 are already in place and regularly hosting top-class sport.
Five of the venues will be temporary and fully demountable and ten more additional permanent venues will be constructed, driven by legacy and sustainability objectives.
TOKI, the existing Government agency responsible for construction, has been delivering 15,000 new houses – the equivalent of an Olympic Village – every quarter for the last eight years, Istanbul claimed.
Istanbul has seen a $1.2 billion (£747 million/€917 million) average annual spend on transport upgrades since 2005, and the city's most significant infrastructure projects – including new extended Metro and rail lines, Bosphorus crossings and the first phase of what will become the world's largest airport – are all scheduled for completion before 2018.
This wide-ranging investment will allow Istanbul to offer athletes average travel times from the Olympic Village to venue of just 16 minutes when the Games are held between August 7 to 23 and the Paralympics from September 9 to 20, it is claimed.
Turkey's National Sports Plan has catalysed a similar boom in the sports industry. $1.77 billion (£1.10 billion/€1.35 billion) will be invested in 415 sports facilities and 24 new stadia nationwide by 2014.
As the 2012 European Capital of Sport, Istanbul hosted 12 major international sporting events, including the WTA Championships which posted record aggregate and average attendances and a $40 million (£25 million/€31 million) economic impact for the city, the World Indoor Athletics Championships which was a sell-out and produced Turkey's first ever indoor athletics medals and the FINA World Short Course Championships which brought 900-plus athletes from 160 National Federations to Europe's largest multipurpose indoor arena.
"First and foremost, our focus has been on delivering conditions that can help Olympians and Paralympians reach their full potential," Uğur Erdener, President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey.
"This Candidature file defines a compact, convenient and compelling technical concept that will guarantee athletes the best possible chance for personal best performances.
"We would like to thank the IOC for their invaluable feedback so far, and for the opportunity to share our vision for the most important sporting event in the world.
"This time, Istanbul is ready to create the perfect stage for the greatest show on Earth."
You can read the full candidature file by clicking these links.
Volume 1(39.1 MB)
Volume 2(44.7 MB)
Volume 3(65.93 MB)
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January 2013: "New Turkey, New Bid" declares Arat as Istanbul 2020 deliver Candidature file
January 2013: Cities bidding for 2020 preparing to hand in Candidature files
December 2012: Record end to year shows Turkey financial power, Istanbul 2020 claim
December 2012: Istanbul 2020 bid boosted by plans to build world's biggest airport
December 2012: Exclusive - Istanbul is ready to host the Olympics, says FINA vice-president