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Greece backs İstanbul's 2020 Olympics

The prime ministers of both countries signed an agreement pledging to cooperate on İstanbul's latest bid for the games. The accord was signed by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras following meetings in İstanbul on Sunday and Monday. In a joint declaration, the leaders said they are committed to "engage in cooperation with regard to the technical and related aspects in the organization of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games." The agreement said the two sides will "explore ways of enhancing the benefits of the Olympics for the two countries as well as for the entire Balkan and Black Sea region" if İstanbul wins the bid.
 
Greece, the home of the ancient Olympics and birthplace of the modern games, last hosted the Olympics in Athens in 2004.
 
İstanbul, bidding for a fifth time, is competing against Tokyo and Madrid for the 2020 Games. The International Olympic Committee will select the host city in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.
 
"The ties between Turkey and Greece have been strengthened today, thanks to the power of the Olympic Movement to build bridges," İstanbul bid leader Hasan Arat said. "The closer cooperation between our countries will be a valuable and lasting legacy of our bid."
 
Greece and Turkey mounted a joint bid for football's 2008 European Championship, which were awarded to Austria and Switzerland.

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