The demonstrations grew out of anger over a violent police crackdown of a peaceful environmental protest at Istanbul’s Taksim Square and spread to other Turkish cities. The government said some 1,000 people were detained during the protests. Hundreds were injured in the clashes.
“Despite these recent events, all sections of Turkey remain united in our dream to host our nation’s first ever Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020,” Istanbul 2020 backers said in a statement on Sunday. “The slogan for our Olympic bid is ‘Bridge Together’ and there is a common desire to unite in the Olympic spirit and show the world that we can work together for a better Turkey.”
The bid organisers say they’re monitoring the demonstrations in Istanbul “very carefully’’ and, while they’re buoyed by the “positive community spirit in helping to clean up and repair damage,” the situation remains fluid.
Istanbul is vying with Madrid and Tokyo for the right to stage the 2020 Summer Games.Denis Oswald, a candidate to succeed IOC President Jacques Rogge in September, said on Monday that the protests shouldn’t threaten the bid — at least for now.
“It’s a beginning of a protest that can happen in any democratic country,” the Swiss IOC member and international rowing federation chief said. “For the time being we’ll see how it develops, how important this protest is. We have had that in many countries where we had Olympic Games.
“I don’t think it would necessarily affect the candidature. We are still three months away from the decision. It will depend if this continues and develops, but for the time being I don’t think it’s a real threat for the candidature.”