Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu underlined the city's interest in the 2036 Olympics and 2027 European Games at a gala dinner ©Getty Images

Istanbul's Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has revealed plans to formalise the Turkish city's bid for the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2027 European Games at a European Olympic Committees (EOC) gala dinner here attended by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

Having finished second to Tokyo in its fifth Olympic Games bid for the 2020 edition, Istanbul had long revealed its intention to stage a fresh attempt for the 2036 edition.

İmamoğlu revealed at the gala dinner held after the first day of the EOC General Assembly in Istanbul meetings had taken place with Bach and IOC officials to discuss its proposals, and promised to visit Lausanne again in the near future to "formalise its candidacy in harmony with its national Government and the Olympic Committee".

He claimed infrastructural improvements completed as part of the 2020 bid stood Istanbul in good stead to host the Games.

"We stand behind all the promises we made for the 2020 candidacy," he said.

"As you are well aware, we have taken very important steps, especially in transportation.

"With the third bridge, metro lines and many other infrastructure works, we are working to make Istanbul a city that offers a unique Olympic experience.

"We are already making huge infrastructure investments to improve the quality of life of the people of this city and to increase urban mobility to the highest levels, but we are also doing it to increase the amount of sports practiced by the residents of this city."

İmamoğlu concluded officials will "continue to do our homework and take one step after another with our strong will".

Competition is expected to be fierce for the 2036 Olympics and Paralympics, with Bach recently claiming India has a "strong case" to stage the event and Poland, Hungary, Mexico, Indonesia, Qatar and South Korea among the at least 10 countries planning bids.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said the city will
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said the city will "stand behind all the promises it made for the 2020 candidacy" ©Getty Images

A timeline has not been provided by the IOC on when it plans to award the 2036 edition, although is due to follow Brisbane 2032 in being awarded under its revamped process in which its Future Host Commission identifies and proposes a preferred candidate to the Executive Board with a view to entering targeted dialogue, moving away from the bidding race system Istanbul has previously gone through.

Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu is often viewed as a rival to controversial Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has led the country since 2003.

Last year, he was sentenced to jail and had a political ban imposed for insulting public officials, although both penalties are yet to be confirmed by an appeals court and he remains in office.

In jointly outlining Istanbul's European and Olympic Games ambitions, İmamoğlu insisted political differences would not affect plans to stage both events.

"In our country, all institutions responsible for governance and implementation come together when it comes to sports," he said.

"The Olympic goals are above politics for all those in positions of power in this country.

"In order to organise the European Games in the best possible way, all state institutions, especially the President of our Republic, all relevant local authorities, all institutions that are part of sports and sponsors will come together."

Istanbul's initial interest in staging the next European Games had been revealed by EOC President Spyros Capralos and Turkish official Hasan Arat, a key figure behind the staging of this year's edition in Kraków and the Małopolska region.

İmamoğlu said he and Capralos had "similar visions and shared common views on sports" after meeting the EOC President, and promised the European Games would be organised in "the most perfect way".

Hasan Arat, who spearheaded Istanbul's bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, said the city would be
Hasan Arat, who spearheaded Istanbul's bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, said the city would be "the perfect place" for the European Games ©Getty Images

"Istanbul is a city ready for the European Games with all of its means," he added.

"We believe that organising the Games in Istanbul will send a strong message to Europe and the rest of the world."

Capralos said "the EOC would be delighted to work with the city on that potential opportunity", and Arat claimed Istanbul would be well-positioned to stage the Games.

"Istanbul clearly has the sports infrastructure to host the Games, and is the perfect place to bring together Europe’s different cultures," Arat said.

"Of course, the decision remains responsibility of the NOC [National Olympic Committee], the Minister of Sport and the Government.

"President Erdoğan and Mayor İmamoğlu are both passionate about sport and we know that in Türkiye, everyone comes together for sporting events as a source of great national pride."

Istanbul is the only known interested city in the 2027 European Games, but EOC officials say other countries are interested too.

More than 300 officials have gathered for the EOC General Assembly, which is set to conclude tomorrow, with the agenda including an address from Bach.