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Economy fuels Istanbul 2020 bid

AFP-JIJI

Turkey’s strong economy should be a positive factor in convincing enough International Olympic Committee members to elect Istanbul as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympics and become the first edition to be hosted on two continents its bid chief told said in an exclusive interview.

Hasan Arat, chief executive of the bid and a successful businessman in his own right, added that for him Turkey would not be the latest in a line of countries from emerging markets to win the right to host major international competitions because for him it had already “emerged.”

Arat’s comments could not have been better timed as they came shortly before Turkey saw credit rating agency Fitch Ratings upgrade it to investment grade on Monday.

“I think it (the strong economy) is important,” said Arat, who in 1996 was named businessman of the year by The Economist.

He added: “We are in the top 15 countries in terms of economic power and according to OECD reports we will be the fastest growing economy for the period between 2011-17.

Istanbul is competing against Tokyo and Madrid for the 2020 Olympic bid, which will be awarded on Sept. 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires.