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Turkey Loses Euro 2024 Bid to Germany Over Human Rights Concerns

Turkey’s sports minister on Thursday said it was “sad” his country had lost out on the right to host the Euro 2024 football championship to Germany, insisting Turkey had all the facilities to host the event.

UEFA announced that Germany won the race against Turkey’s rival candidacy — the only other bid — backing an offer seen as safer than the Turkish proposal.

“It is sad from the point of view of UEFA and the Euro 2024 that our country was not given (the right to host the event) despite all our strengths,” Sports Minister Muharrem Kasapoglu said in televised comments.

“It’s clear that, as a country, from the organizational point of view, our standards, strengths and qualities are high,” he added. “The quality and newness of our facilities and stadiums is clear.”

He implied that the loser in the bidding was not Turkey but the tournament itself, which would miss out on the experience of taking place in Turkey.

“In this sense we have lost nothing as a country. Euro 2024 has lost out from the point of view of our experience of hospitality,” he said.

The awarding of Euro 2024 to Germany was the latest in a string of disappointments for Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as it seeks to host one of the world’s greatest sporting events.

Istanbul notably lost the race to host the 2020 Olympics to the Japanese capital Tokyo and also narrowly missed the chance of hosting the 2016 Euro football which went to France.

By coincidence, Erdogan arrived earlier Thursday on a visit to Germany, where he is to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Turkey offered hosting the tournament in 10 stadiums in nine host cities and bring the event to a Muslim-majority country for the first time.

Its glitzy promotional video shown in UEFA’s announcement ceremony featured the prominent steak restauranteur Nusret Gokce who last week caused controversy by presiding over a luxury meal for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

An evaluation report issued by UEFA last week stated that “it would be a risk” to grant the Euro 2024 hosting rights to Turkey, pointing out the country’s poor record on human rights and its “limited hotel capacity”, deeming the issues “matters of concern”.

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