Finance Minister Albayrak says Turkey is ready on all counts as a UEFA report flags issues about Turkey's 2024 European Championship bid over infrastructure and human rights. The report raises few issues with the German proposal.
Turkey is ready for Euro 2024, Turkey's Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said as the UEFA expressed concerns on Friday about Ankara's bid a week before the 2024 European Championship hosting vote. The UEFA raised no significant issues with Germany's proposals in an evaluation.
"Economy-wise and infrastructure-wise, Turkey is ready," Albayrak said at a joint press conference in Berlin with Germany's economy and finance ministers.
European football's governing body has also flagged up a risk over the ability for fans to travel around Turkey, which plans to enhance transport infrastructure for the tournament.
"The scale of works to be undertaken in the given time frame constitutes a risk, especially in combination with the dependence on a few airports for international and domestic travel," the UEFA said.
But the same UEFA executive committee that votes on Thursday on the Euro 2024 host decided in May to send a showpiece occasion to Turkey. The 2020 Champions League final will be staged in Istanbul at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, although the latest UEFA report said rebuilding work poses a risk to that event or Euro 2024.
Turkey's restriction on advertising alcoholic products is also problematic for the UEFA, which said it could create a "conflict if a sponsorship agreement is signed with a beer company." Germany doesn't have the same prohibition.
Financial benefits for the UEFA of taking the tournament to Turkey are the tax exemptions being offered by the government which Germany will not give.
But UEFA cautions that "recent economic developments" in Turkey "may put planned public investments under pressure."
The Turkish lira has lost around 40 percent against the dollar this year, raising the price of imports.
European football's governing body is also troubled by the lack of proposals "to ensure the protection of human rights" at the 24-nation flagship tournament.
A crackdown after a failed military coup in 2016 led to mass arrests. Although the two-year-old state of emergency expired in July, new anti-terror laws allow authorities to press ahead with mass firings.
The evaluation from UEFA presents a major obstacle to Turkey's hopes of hosting its first major football tournament.
The German bid
While Germany has 10 stadiums already in place, organisers will have to pay rent, unlike Turkey, which is offering all venues for free, with the government subsidising costs.
Germany has sought to make Turkey's political issues a factor in the campaign. German federation President Reinhard Grindel criticised Turkey's authoritarianism after seeing two of his players with Turkish roots — Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan — posing for photos with Erdogan in London in May.
The UEFA evaluation highlights no significant issues with Germany's bid to host its first major football tournament since the 2006 World Cup.
But the German federation faced sharp criticism from Ozil, who quit the national team saying there was racist treatment of people with Turkish roots. In their bid books, the Germans talked up their "integration project for refugees."
UEFA concludes the German bid is "of high quality and comfortably meets overall expectations when it comes to political aspects, social responsibility, sustainability and human rights."