By Duncan Mackay

Istanbul Stock ExchangeDecember 31 - Istanbul 2020 are again emphasising Turkey's growing financial vitality as a major reason why they should be awarded the Olympics and Paralympics. 

With Istanbul, along with rivals Madrid and Tokyo, due to hand in their Candidature Files to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne next Monday (January 7) they are hailing a new record on the city's Stock Exchange as a further sign of Turkey's rapid development.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) ended the year today at a record 78,208.44 points, the first time it has exceeded 78,000 points since its founding in 1985. 

In dollar terms, the ISE grew by 57.58 per cent during 2012, second behind only Venezuela.

It ensures that Turkey remains on course to become one of the world's top ten economies by 2023, when the country is due to celebrate its centenary, claims Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

He revealed today that in the last decade Turkish exports have risen to $150 billion (£92 billion/€114 billion) from $36 billion (£22 billion/€27 billion) and in the same period the reserves of the Central Bank rose to $121 billion (£74 billion/€92 billion) from $27.5 billion (£16.9 billion/€20.8 billion).

Turkey is also due to repay a $23.5 billion (£14.5 billion/€17.8 billion) loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by next May. 

Once it is cleared, the country is preparing to lend the fund $5 billion (£3 billion/€4 billion), said Erdoğan.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in front of Turkish flagsPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been in charge as the Turkish economy has outperformed nearly all of its rivals

Turkey's growing economic strength contrasts with that of Spain, where Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey has admitted that the country face a difficult 2013, and Japan, the third biggest economy in the world but which is facing a drop in exports which is leading to major concerns.

"Istanbul 2020 is bridging across challenging economic realities and will take full advantage of Turkey's robust and resilient economy," said Hasan Arat, the leader of Istanbul 2020.

"Our plan is an ambitious one: an Olympic and Paralympic Games across two continents simultaneously for the first time in history, at the point where East meets West and the ancient meets the ultra-modern.

"But this news proves that our spectacular Games vision is founded on an economy that offers delivery security and the capacity to take the Olympic Movement forward in partnership with the IOC."

Ugur Erdener, the President of the National Committee of Turkey (NOCT), claimed that the strength of the economy would continue to help the development of sport. 

"Turkey's economic boom has enabled the country to invest more in sport at every level," he said.

"Better provision for grass roots sport has produced significant increases in youth participation nationwide.

"The quality and professionalism of elite sport in Turkey continues to boost the world's confidence in our ability to host major international sporting events.

"Hosting the Olympic Games in 2020 would amplify this effect, satisfying Turkish youth's thirst for sport and creating a solid foundation for a legacy plan which revolves around the Olympians of tomorrow."

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