Olympic flame stirs passion in Istanbul

April 1st, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by admin  

Xinhua
Istanbul, April 1 (Xinhua) The citizens of Turkey’s largest city Istanbul have been in full swing for the upcoming Beijing Olympics torch relay, regarding it as a new opportunity for the two countries to cooperate in sports and promote themselves. Istanbul, the only city in the world located on two continents, Asia and Europe, will hold the 17.8-km relay Wednesday.

Posters with Chinese characters in Turkish reading “Light the Passion, Share the Dream” were set around the streets of Istanbul.

Yacin Aksoy, general director of the Preparation and Organisation Council for the Islanbul Olympic Games, told Xinhua that China’s preparations for the Olympics is “pretty good”, adding that “Both China and Turkey will benefit from the unprecedented and well-planned Olympics in Beijing this summer”.

“It is the most well-prepared Olympic Games I have ever seen,” Aksoy said.

Hilmi Aydin, 44, curator of the famous Topkapi Palace Museum, said the museum receives more and more Chinese guests due to China’s booming economy, and the Beijing Olympics is a good chance for China to show its history and culture, and also, a good chance to promote Istanbul and Turkey.

“I will certainly go to the scene that day and I am sure most Turks will take part in the torch relay in their respective ways,” Aydin said.

Topkapi Palace Museum, a must-go of Istanbul which has numerous classical antiquities, manuscripts, ceramics, armour, textiles and particularly a large collection of more than 10 thousand pieces of ancient oriental china, is just a few minutes walk from the Hagia Sophia Museum where the torch relay will kick off Thursday.

“I believe that China will overcome all kinds of difficulties, including terrorism threats, and host an excellent Olympic Games,” Aydin added.

The unfriendly weather did not mar Burak’s business. Burak, 24, who runs a small souvenir booth opposite to the museum, told Xinhua that the Olympics would boost economic and cultural exchanges between different nations.

“It is also a golden opportunity for my own business because the relay will surely attract lots of tourists,” he added.

Ismail, 42, a veteran taxi driver in Istanbul, said that the Olympics is a great event for both China and the world.

“I heard of the relay from local TV. Turkey should learn from China in its bid for the Olympic Games. We must improve our economic and transportation infrastructure as well as publicity,” he said.

Istanbul failed to host the Olympics in four consecutive bids including 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Xinhua

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