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Turkey disappointed over loss of Euro 2024 bid
ANKARA, Sept. 27 -- Turkey lost to Germany on Thursday in its bid to host the 2024 European Championship, football's most financially lucrative competition after the World Cup.
The latest bid was the fourth attempt by Turkey to host an European championship. Turkish authorities tried to present their case by underlining that football was by far the most popular sport in the country dispersing the events in nine cities, from Istanbul (northwest) to Gaziantep (southeast).
The tournament will return to a single-host country format after Euro 2020 is held in 12 cities across Europe.
Germany got 12 votes in its favor, and Turkey took four.
Turkey's Sports and Youth Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoglu expressed his disappointment.
"This is saddening for UEFA and for Euro 2024. This would have been a great success for this organization if this event had taken place in this geography, on this land," the minister, visibly frustrated, told reporters.
"Germany was the favorite of the delegates who voted for this country and we have to acknowledge that it is a great football country which hosted major events in this sport," said football commentator Ugur Meleke.
Other commentators argued that UEFA delegates decided "unfairly" to choose Germany over Turkey, branding their decision a "political" one.
"I am not surprised, the (UEFA) report cited human rights concerns regarding Turkey," said Ridvan Dilven, a former Turkish international player and NTV news channel sports analyst.
According to experts, Turkey has made considerable progress to meet the requirements for hosting the tournament by building new stadiums, hotels and developing its transportation infrastructure.
Turkey's bid was also underlining that the country's location, spanning both Asia and Europe, would give Euro 2024 attendees high and easy accessibility as Turkish Airlines is assuring direct flights to more than 300 destinations.
The decision of the European football body on 2024 coincided only a few hours after the arrival of Turkish president Erdogan for a three-day state visit in Germany, the first in four years after a tumultuous period between the two NATO states and close economic partners.
The Turkish strongman has personally stamped his support to his country's bid, attending the opening ceremonies of most of the stadiums rebuild and renamed after the demolition of older football grounds.
Erdogan said on the eve of the decision on that he expected European football's governing body UEFA to make a "fair assessment".
"I think that a football-mad country like Turkey, which meets all the criteria for hosting the event, should be given the opportunity," Erdogan told Germany's Funke media group Tuesday.
The Turkish leader said Turkey has stadiums with large capacities in almost all major cities, unlike many other European countries.
Turkey officially submitted its bid for Euro 2024 on February 2017. However a UEFA report last week raised concerns about Turkey's ability to finish all the construction projects it has promised due to the country's economic problems that led to public investment and spending cuts.