By David Owen

January 29 - The Turkish Government has announced plans for a colossal €27 billion (£23 billion) infrastructure upgrade, as the country vies for the right to stage the Euro 2016 football tournament.

The six-year programme will cover transportation (including railways and airports), telecommunications, hotels, health and education.

It is understood that the investment will go ahead irrespective of whether Turkey wins its race with France and Italy for the right to host the competition.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also announced that his Government had signed financial guarantees totalling €920 million (£798 million)  for the construction and/or improvement of stadia in the eight host cities proposed under the Turkish bid.

A Turkish win would see new stadia built in six cities: Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Konya, Eskişehir and Antalya.

In addition, Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium would undergo major renovation, while Galatasaray SK’s Türk Telekom Arena and the Kayseri Kadir Has Stadium would also see substantial improvements.

The three candidates must submit their dossiers to the European football Confederation UEFA by February 15.

UEFA’s Executive Committee, currently meeting in Malta, is set to decide the host of the competition - which will for the first time feature 24 teams - in May.

The winner of the contest will follow Poland and Ukraine, who are jointly hosting Euro 2012.

The Turkish bid will be widely seen, in part, as an important staging-post in efforts to bring the Olympic Games to Istanbul.

The city has already made four unsuccessful bids in recent times and is widely expected to try again for the 2020 Games.

Turkish Football Federation President Mahmut Őzgener said: "From the very outset of the bidding process, we have obtained all necessary guarantees from the National Government, Host Cities and other stakeholders.

"The constructive and successful process underlines the dedication of Turkey’s Prime Minister and his entire Government to help host this major football event…

"With these commitments having been signed, Turkey is more than ready to host the European Championship in 2016."

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