By Duncan Mackay at the World Sports Congress in London

Turkey football fansFebruary 26 - Turkey is totally focussed on Istanbul hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and the country will not be distracted by continuing speculation linking it with playing a leading role in the UEFA European Championships. 

Turkey had originally been lined-up to host the tournament after they missed out on staging Euro 2016 to France by only one vote.

But the Government instead decided to concentrate on its campaign for the Olympics and Paralympics.

With no other country prepared to host the 24-team tournament, UEFA President Michel Platini has decided to pioneer the radical plan of hosting the event across Europe in 13 different cities.

Istanbul has been mentioned, along with London, as one of the favourites to stage the semi-finals and final of the event, even though International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules would prevent Turkey hosting any other major event in 2020.

Hasan Arat, the leader of Istanbul 2020, made it clear at the World Sports Congress here today that nothing will be allowed to get in the way of their campaign.

"Istanbul is very clear," said Arat. 

"It's for the 2020 Olympic bid.

"The Government made the decision.

"There is no official interest and these comments come from UEFA."

Hasan Arat in London February 26 2012Istanbul 2020 bid leader Hasan Arat claimed it is "very clear we are just for the Olympics"

Arat is confident that the issue will be put to bed once and for all when the IOC Evaluation Commission, chaired by Britain's Sir Craig Reedie, visits Istanbul between March 24 and 27.

"Istanbul is very clear on the rules and [a bid for Euro 2020] would go contrary to an Olympic bid," said Arat.

"I think it's very clear we are just for the Olympic Games.

"There is no other agenda, this is our number one agenda and that's what we will tell the [IOC] Evaluation Committee."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
November 2012: Turkey to promote Euro 2020 bid at Soccerex despite Olympic and Paralympic bid
October 2012: Platini insists he has not given Turkey an ultimatum
September 2012: England hope to host Euro 2020 final if Istanbul awarded Olympics
July 2012: UEFA to delay naming of Euro 2020 football championship hosts
June 2012: Boost for Istanbul 2020 as Platini launches radical new plan for European Championships