Erdogan says Turkey readying 2026 Winter Games bid
ISTANBUL - Turkey is readying a bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in its high-altitude northeastern city of Erzurum, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.
Erdogan said in a speech in Erzurum that Turkey was preparing the bid for the city to host the games jointly with its regional neighbours Erzincan and Kars.
Erzurum, itself at an elevation of 1,900 metres (6,200 feet), boasts arguably Turkey's finest skiing facilities and a ski jump hill at the resort of Palandoken just outside the city. It already hosted the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOF) this year.
"Is Erzurum not worthy of hosting the Winter Olympics?" Erdogan said, quoted by Turkish media. "We made the first step," he added, referring to the EYOF.
"With some small adjustments we can take this further.
"It would not be bad to have a bid along with Erzican and Kars. We are making such preparations for 2026," he added.
There has been repeated speculation that Turkey was interested in a bid to be the 2026 Games host -- which is due to be selected by the IOC in 2019 -- but this was the first confirmation from Erdogan.
Erdogan has reaffirmed over the last months that Turkey is ready to host any sporting event, despite his evident bitterness that Istanbul's bid to win the 2020 Olympic Games failed.