By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

May 1 - Turkey will launch a bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the President of the country's Parliament Mehmet Ali Sahin has confirmed.

Sahin used the 73rd AIPS Congress, currently being held in Istanbul, as an opportunity to publicly confirm the bid, claiming that it was part of a longer term strategy to encourage Turkey's youngsters to be inspired by sport.

He said: "They are our future and we must all do everything possible to maintain that sporting spirit at a time when the world was facing such difficult times."

Sahin did not say which city Turkey would put forward but, as revealed on insidethegames last November, Mehmet Atalay, the head of the International Sports Organisation of the Turkish Republic and a senior consultant to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced that Istanbul planned to bid.

Istanbul previously bid for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics but was easily beaten on each occasion.

But officials there have promised to keep bidding until they are awarded the Games.

The country has also launched a bid to host football's 2016 European Championships and several experts have predicted that they will be chosen by UEFA when they choose the host country at a meeting in Geneva on May 28.

Turkey is already due to host the Winter University Games at Erzurum next year, while Istanbul is the venue for the 2012 World Indoor Athletics Championships.

The International Olympic Committee are due to choose the host city of the 2020 Olympics in 2013. 

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