By Duncan Mackay

Sir Craig Reedie arrives Istanbul March 22 2013 2March 22 - Istanbul today welcomed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission as they travelled to Turkey to prepare for its final inspection of the three cities bidding for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Britain's Sir Craig Reedie. chairman of the Evaluation Commission, and his 14-member team were met at Ataturk International Airport after travelling from Madrid, where they had completed their inspection of the Spanish capital's bid yesterday, by IOC member Ugur Erderner and the Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbas.

The Commission, which has already visited Tokyo, left Madrid on a Turkish Airlines plane branded "Istanbul 2020".

Istanbul 2020 planeA specially branded "Istanbul 2020" Turkish Airlines plane transported the IOC Evaluation Commission from Mardid

The Commission are due to begin its four-day inspection of Turkey's financial capital on Sunday (March 24). 

It is the city's fifth bid to host the Olympics and Paralympics, following unsuccessful campaigns to host the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games. 

Hasan Arat meets IOC Evaluation Commission Istanbul March 22 2013Istanbul 2020 chairman Hasan Arat prepares to greet the IOC Evaluation Commission at the Four Seasons Hotel

One of its main attractions, Turkish officials claim, is that Istanbul would bring the Games to a new region that sits on two continents and to a predominantly Muslim nation for the first time.

But at $19.2 billion (£12.6 billion/€14.8 billion), its projected infrastructure budget for the Olympics is ten times that of Madrid, which is planning to spend $1.9 billion (£1.3 billion/€1,5 billion), and higher than Tokyo, whose figure is $4.9 billion (£3,2 billion/€3.7 billion)

But Turkey claims to be the fastest growing economy in Europe. 

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