Greece-Turkey EURO2008

Last updated : 09 December 2002 By Ed_ScottishFitba

When Greece and Turkey announced they were going to submit a joint bid to host EURO2008, a large number of jaws hits chests. However, after checking that they were not kidding on, the traditional enemies have been serious about a new spirit of co-operation being born across the Aegean Sea. Both nations have risen enormously in footballing stature in recent seasons. Turkey's run to the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup is still fresh in the mind and the countries are ready to show the world that they can host major events.

Greece is already preparing for another large sporting event. The Olympic stadium in Athens is primed to host the 2004 Olympic games and would be the venue for the Greece/Turkey EURO2008 final. To balance things out Turkey's equally terrific Atatόrk Olympic stadium will host the tournament's opening game. The remaining games of the tournament will be shared by five further cities, and Fenerbahηe SK's Sόkrό Saraηoglu stadium, a second Istanbul stadium alongside the Atatόrk Olympic, will be renovated for the occasion. The city of Antalya is planning to build the €50m Antalya stadium, while up the coast in Izmir, €25m worth of work will be done to revitalise the Atatόrk stadium. In Greece, the Pankrition stadium in Iraklion on the island of Crete, the Pampeloponissiako in Patras and Thessalonika's Kaftanzoglio stadium are already being refitted to host the Olympic football tournament.

See Athens and die
The planning and building for the 2004 Olympics have helped Greece be on track to have training facilities and stadia modernised and improved and they are all served by local airports. The Turks may not have the Olympic history, but nobody could really argue about their passion for football and their ambition to show exactly what they are capable of. With both nations being major tourist attractions, housing visiting supporters and whizzing them from venue to venue should be no problem at all. Just imagine the sun and Ouzo going down after a day on the sun lounger before heading to a game.

If Turkey and Greece can co-operate despite spending years in conflict is must be a sign of hope for Europe and the world that reconciliation can pay dividends. Turkey coach Senol Gόnes summed up the ideal, saying: "
Hosting this big tournament will give the opportunity to both nations to improve friendship, to increase the enthusiasm in football, make a big contribution to the economy and mostly to step into a warless world where their friendship will be a model for all to eliminate the rising atmosphere of war and violence in recent years."

You do not have to be from the region to support the Greek-Turkish bid, as Galatasaray SK's Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragσn proved, saying: "
The passion of football in both countries is the most required component for hosting EURO 2008. I personally believe that Turkey and Greece will really be the best hosts for this championship." However, it was striker Hakan Sόkόr who summed up the idea with just a few words: "Try us once and see the true love, understanding and respect we have. The world might learn a lot from us."

The official line was touted by Turgay Varda, media representative for the Hellas-Tόrkiye 2008 bid: "
It would be a big step for the progress of football, politics and tourism for both countries. We believe our bid is the best. We have fine stadiums in Greece and Turkey, they are safe countries, we have plenty of accommodation on the Aegean coasts and the people in both countries love football."

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