Excitement peaks in EXPO 2015 marathon

Izmir is rapidly nearing the end of the EXPO 2015 competition, an event even bigger than the Olympic Games or the Soccer World Cup.

Picking up with the 1st International Symposium on 15-20 October, the tempo peaked with a presentation made in Paris on 26 November. French writer Mark Levy, whose book sales have broken records, supported Izmir against rival Milan in a talk he gave at the Turkey presentation made in Paris, headquarters of the BIE (Bureau of International Exhibitions): “Think of the city,” said Levy, “where synagogues, churches and mosques lean against one another in narrow streets and where people who don’t pray together pray side by side.”

Taking part with six government ministers in the 1st Symposium, which was held in Izmir and Istanbul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conveyed the message that ‘the Government is behind the Project’ to BIE delegates coming from all over the world. President Abdullah Gül in Paris also emphasized to the delegates who will cast their votes that the state supports the project at the highest level.

Another critical turning point in the EXPO 2015 marathon was the BIE report. The inspection team held a series of talks in Ankara and Izmir between 5 and 9 November with the President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Foreign Minister, at the end of which positive results emerged from the critical report. Izmir was deemed to have the capacity to organize a universal fair, and its chosen theme, ‘Health for Everybody’, deemed appropriate for EXPO 2015.

In the event that Izmir wins the elections, which will be held on 31 March 2008, at least 16 million people from foreign countries are expected to come to EXPO 2015 and forty million people to visit the fair--a development that is going to create a 20 billion dollar investment opportunity for the region through projects such as a super-fast train, an expressway and hotels. Even more importantly, it will mean a giant step towards a brand new world in which problems and solutions in the field of health are universally shared.

The next item on the EXPO 2015 calendar is the 2nd International Symposium on 13-16 February. Bilateral talks and lobbying activities constitute a key phase in the candidacy process. If Izmir is chosen in the elections that will follow the final presentation on 31 March 2008, a new page will have been turned in the history of Turkey.