İBB President Ekrem İmamoğlu spoke at the "Istanbul Sports Strategy and Future Plan" introductory meeting. Explaining that Istanbul aspires to the "2036 Olympic Games" and "Paralympic Games", İmamoğlu said, "We are also focusing on the greatest goal to lead Turkey in sports, to ensure that Istanbul reaches its deserved place on the world sports map. We show our will on this matter. We will succeed together,” he said. Calling for cooperation to the relevant institutions of the state, the Turkish National Olympic Committee and the Turkish National Paralympic Committee to focus on the same goal, İmamoğlu said, “Our centuries-old clubs, which have been successful in hosting all our federations and this city; I want to make a special call to our brands such as Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Galatasaray: Let's put our shoulders together; Let's bring together all major international organizations, especially the Olympics, to our city. Let's set up common desks, study groups, and help you with your big goals. Let's work together and bring the world's best sports events to the people of Istanbul.”
Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), announced the city's declaration of will for the Olympic candidacy at the "Istanbul Sports Strategy and Future Plan" introductory meeting. To the declaration of will meeting held at the Volkswagen Arena in Maslak, Sarıyer; Political party representatives, deputies, district mayors, IMM bureaucrats, President of the Turkish National Olympic Committee Prof. Dr. Uğur Erdener, Chairman of the Board of the Turkish National Paralympic Committee Yavuz Kocaömer, athletes and many well-known names from the sports world attended. The event hall, designed as an illuminated athletics track, was appreciated by the guests.
“WE ARE STARTING A LONG JOURNEY”
Making an interactive presentation accompanied by slides projected onto the screen set up on a giant stage, İmamoğlu started his speech by greeting all the stakeholders of the "sports family". Noting that he is also a part of this family, İmamoğlu said; He shared his memories from his childhood to his youth, from athletics to goalkeeper, from football manager to basketball manager. Emphasizing that he tells the details of his personal history with a specific purpose, İmamoğlu said, “Because today, we are starting a long journey. I know from personal experience what a great need this journey is for both individuals and society as a whole. The name of this journey; It is the journey of making Istanbul a city of sports.”
“OUR DREAM; TURNING INTO A CITY WHERE MILLIONS SPORT”
Reminding that he made the promise of "mobilization in sports" in the election campaign, İmamoğlu underlined that they have given great priority to this field since the first day they took office. “We have been conducting research and preparing plans for a long time through our authorized boards and institutions in order to make sustainable contributions to the future of sports,” said İmamoğlu, adding, “We are putting the final touches on a sustainable sports strategy and master plan that will touch 16 million people. Our goal is very simple and clear: to bring sports to every Istanbulite. To spread the sports culture in Istanbul and to start an Olympic movement. All our dreams are; To transform Istanbul into a city where millions of people do sports in the near future," he said.
“OLYMPISM IS A GREAT TRANSFORMATION MOVEMENT”
Pointing out that the pandemic period caused changes in the way people view and do sports, İmamoğlu noted that they are working to keep up with this new order. Saying, “We have brought our preparations to the completion stage in order to establish a sustainable sports culture in our Istanbul and to find the most suitable model in order to transform our city into a sports city”, İmamoğlu said that his inspirations on this path are Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his contemporary, Baron Pierre De Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. stated. Expressing that both leaders have established a philosophical connection between sports and intellectualism, İmamoğlu said, “Today, we can define the new era we have started for our city as the 'Sports Culture Movement' or simply the 'Olympism Movement'. The Olympism movement is a great transformation movement that is human in its essence and focus, and whose ultimate goal is to create quality of life for urban residents.
SUMMARY OF WHAT OLYMPISM WILL GIVE ISTANBUL IN 7 ARTICLES
In his speech, İmamoğlu summarized the benefits that the Olympic perspective will bring to the city and the people of Istanbul in 7 points:
1- IS THE PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE: International studies prove that regular exercise from childhood extends human life by an average of 5 years. Even when we look only at the effects on health, you can see the high return on investment in sports.
2-THE PEACE MOVEMENT: Because, in societies with the spirit of Olympism, competition is experienced on the field, not carried out. Fair-play examples on the field set an example for societies. Countries in the world, especially South Africa and Korea, solved their problems by using the power of sports; brought social peace. As we bring international sports organizations to our country, we will establish much closer relations with all states and peoples in the world.
3- PROMOTES AND DEFENDS EQUALITY: Equality of opportunity is essential in sports. Everyone who does sports, especially women, starts to get rid of discrimination and prejudices very quickly. The most important social effect of sports is that it embraces social groups that are unfairly called disadvantaged. In Istanbul, we embrace our disabled athletes and provide them with the best opportunities. We invite everyone to sports without any discrimination in order to defeat prejudices together.
4-HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT: Thanks to sports, bad habits are reduced by half, and the rate of crimes involving young people is reduced to a minimum. We continue our work in order for the people of Istanbul to experience the positive effects of sports. Through Sports Istanbul, we bring people together with sports in a total of 25 facilities with 42 pools, 44 fitness centers, 31 tennis courts, 41 gymnasiums, 8 artificial turf pitches, 1 stadiums, 2 athletics track and 52 ice rinks. Before the pandemic, we had 680 million sessions with our 7 thousand members from Istanbul. We provide services in 615 branches with 26 sports trainers without any discrimination. In our sports schools, 45 children are trained annually in 30.000 sports branches in 15 facilities. In 35 districts of Istanbul, in nearly 170 points, we make an average of 100.000 people do active sports every day, with outdoor exercises. While Istanbul has 16 licensed athletes with a population of 200.000 million; With a population of 3,6 million, Berlin has 750.00 licensed athletes. We have a long way to go, but at the same time we are determined.
5-IT IS A SUSTAINABLE AND GREEN URBAN DEVELOPMENT MODEL: Cities governed by the philosophy of Olympism develop living spaces that do not restrict people's movements and are suitable for physical activity. If you can do sports comfortably in a city, the air and water of that city are clean; streets are safe. The ecology is positively affected when the use of bicycles, hiking trails increase and each district gains a park. In ancient times, there was a hippodrome with a capacity of 100 thousand people in the middle of Istanbul, and stadiums with a capacity of 30-40 thousand people all over Anatolia. With such a cultural heritage, it is not difficult to make Istanbul one of the important points on the world sports tourism map.
6-TOGETHER EDUCATION AND SPORTS: Studies from all over the world show that young people who play sports are much more successful in their schools. One of the most important features of sports is that it teaches people to work in a planned and programmed way, to set medium and long-term goals and to dream. It is in the nature of sport to work hard, to plan correctly, to create tactics, to focus on the biggest goals. We are also taking action to improve the education of Istanbul's children and youth with the habits gained by sports.
7-FOCUS ON PARTICIPATION, NOT WINNING: If you spread the sports culture to the grassroots, you will enable talented people to rise from that grassroots into talent pyramids. The rest will come automatically. We care about the part of Olympism that is actually human and invests in people, and that's why we embark on this journey. Because our main goal is the health and happiness of our people.
“WE CALL 16 MILLIONS, THEN 84 MILLIONS FOR SPORTS”
Stating that all the authorized boards and affiliates of IMM contributed to the process by exhibiting a common working example, İmamoğlu said, “We brought together the important sports experts of our country in our workshop we held last weekend. From now on, we will continue similar studies, and we will finalize our 'Sports Master Plan' and define sports policies for Istanbul. We enrich our preparations with various researches. We are progressing in sync with all our teams, within a 7-stage plan. We are taking action to ensure that there are no people who do not do sports in Istanbul. First, we invite 16 million and then 84 million to sports. We are also focusing on the greatest goal to make all Istanbulites experience the unique positive effects of sports, to lead the whole of Turkey in sports, and to ensure that Istanbul reaches its deserved place on the world sports map. We demonstrate our will on this matter. On behalf of all the people of Istanbul, on behalf of Turkey, we want the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to be held in Istanbul.”
CALL FOR “COLLABORATION” TO ALL STAKEHOLDERS
First goals; Expressing that they have designated the “2036 Olympic Games” and “Paralympic Games”, İmamoğlu said, “We call on our state, the Turkish National Olympic Committee, the Turkish National Paralympic Committee and all relevant institutions to cooperate in order to focus around the same goal. We will succeed together,” he said. Emphasizing that the late Sinan Erdem, one of the first names that come to mind when 'Olympics' in Turkey is mentioned, they believe in the vision that “The Olympics are made with people, not stones and bricks”, İmamoğlu expanded his call with the following words:
“I would like to make a special call to all our federations and clubs from here: Let's stand shoulder to shoulder; Let's bring together all major international organizations, especially the Olympics, to our city. Let's set up common desks, study groups, and help you with your big goals. Let's work together and bring the world's best sporting events to the people of Istanbul. While setting a long-term and sustainable strategic goal to this city, our centuries-old clubs that have succeeded in hosting this city; We want to cooperate with our brands such as Fenerbahçe Beşiktaş and Galatasaray. Again, we would like to support our iconic clubs such as Anadolu Efes and Eczacıbaşı, which brought many international successes to this city in different disciplines, and to cooperate and support in discovering and raising the champions of the future together. Our door will be open to all our federations and clubs who want to share the philosophy and excitement of Olympism, and who want to put their effort and faith into this long journey.”
SHARE THE STAGE WITH ATHLETES
Stating that they know that they are going on a long-term journey, İmamoğlu took the stage at the end of his speech, respectively; He invited child athletes between the ages of 10-12 and 8 national athletes, 10 of whom were paralympics, who had an Olympic quota. Expressing his wishes for success to all players who will participate in the Tokyo Olympics, İmamoğlu said, “Our athletes from different clubs and federations will also fight for medals in the Olympics. Of course, it is important for our athletes to win medals, but even with their participation, they have already given us hope, morale, and set an example for our youth and children. We congratulate them all in advance. We wish you endless success in Tokyo. Our hearts will be with them.” The event ended with İmamoğlu taking a group photo with the athletes.