Aram Ekin Duran
ISTANBUL - Referans
European Union countries, relieved at the decision by the top court to spare the ruling party and its promise of stability, are preparing to support Turkey with an unusual show. Ambassadors from EU countries will attend the Bosporus race to be held on the last day of Cap Istanbul, the biggest open sea sailing competition on the Mediterranean. The plan is for each ambassador to tour the Bosporus aboard a sailboat, delivering the message “Turkey is a European country.”
Cap Istanbul, regarded as the Formula 1 of the sea, will start in Nice on Sept. 14 and end in Istanbul on Oct. 11 with a magnificent ceremony on the Bosporus. Preparations have started for the Bosporus show with French Ambassador to Ankara Bernard Emie meeting ambassadors one by one to persuade them to participate in the “Bosporus pleasure.”
Cumali Varer, owner of Olay Nautic and head of the Cap Istanbul organizing committee, said the event was one of the most important maritime organizations of Europe and played an important role in the improvement of EU-Turkey relations.
“Mr. Emie wants to transform the last section of Istanbul into a Bosporus show by EU ambassadors. We are currently in contact with them,” he said.
Varer said the number of applicants rose from 17 to 51 this year, but that they had to limit the number to 35 participants.
“There has been 100 percent increase in participation. This is partly due to people learning that the Mediterranean is a great racetrack for professional sailing,” he said. “But I think Turkey's EU accession efforts are at least as responsible for the increased attention to our race,” he said.
Varer said Cap Istanbul would also create an important market, saying a total of 7.3 million euros would be spent during the activities. He said they plan to spend 2.8 million euros for VIP parties and dinners, 3.5 million euros for the boats' expenses and 1 million euros for the activities in lap cities. The race, which will take the 35 racers together with their sponsors to Istanbul, will also be a great opportunity for the establishment of new economic ties.
Stressing that foreign firms sponsoring the boats wanted to promote economic ties with Turkey, Varer said, “These firms would not spend this much money for the race if they had not made plans to invest in Turkey. The participation of 35 firms can be read as, ‘We want to advertise in Turkey.'”