Turkish and Greek PMs jointly inaugurated Universiade sports complex in Erzurum that will host 25th World University Winter Games.
Erdogan said that Erzurum would take place in Turkey's sports history with the 25th World University Winter Games (2011 Universiade).
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou met with Erdogan in the eastern province of Erzurum which will host the 2011 Winter Universiade to begin later this month.
The two leaders had a breakfast in the morning and then attended a ceremony to inaugurate Universiade sports complex in the city, ahead of their speeches to Turkish ambassadors around the world who met in Erzurum for their annual gathering.
Erdogan said that the city was also hosting an important guest, Greek PM Papandreou, today, adding that the Greek premier was sharing the excitement too.
Erdogan said that Erzurum would host 2011 Universiade 20 days later, adding that Universiade was known as the olympic games of universities.
Noting that five stars in Universiade emblem symbolized five continents in the world, Erdogan said that those five stars were representing the friendship, solidarity and cooperation among five continents.
He said that five continents would meet in Erzurum 20 days later --between January 27 and February 6. Erdogan noted that Erzurum would host tens of thousands of spectators as well as 3,500 sportsmen from 50 countries.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Papandreou said Turkish and Greek people and governments of the two countries have been exerting efforts for peace and friendship.
He said Turkey and Greece have made a decision to take bold steps, setting aside all prejudices of the past.
"Now, we want to break down the walls of prejudice," Papandreou said. "We must forget the competition of the past. Today, I am optimistic."
Papandreou also said that Turkey and Greece had made significant progress in political and economic cooperation. He said the two countries should make use of the potential in the region and also the potential between Turkey and Greece.
Papandreou added that his country was ready to support Turkey for its candidacy to host 2020 Olympic Games, as Greece, which hosted 2004 Olympics, was experienced in such an organization.
"We are exerting intense efforts to make the Aegean a sea of peace and friendship. And we are making progress. Today I had very fruitful talks with my counterpart George Papandreou. We need build a world in which peace prevailed by overcoming mistakes of the past. We need to leave a heritage of peace and respect," Erdogan told the ceremony.
Universiade, as the olympic meeting of university students, is one of the most important sport events in the world. It is the main point in FISU's (International University Sports Federation) calendar.
The Games, which are staged every two years in a different city, are held in two parts as Summer and Winter Games. The summer games first took place in Turin in 1959, and winter games in 1960, in the city of Chamonix (France). The leader in hosting the games is Italy (5 times).
Tickets for 2011 Winter Universiade are available online on "www.erzurum2011.gov.tr".
AgenciesLast Mod: 07 Ocak 2011, 17:36