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Istanbul Mayor ‘proud’ to be hosting #GEG22: ‘a global event young people are so interested in’

During a visit on Saturday, Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu shared his views that the Istanbul 2022 Global Esports Games mirrors the spirit driving his city forward


The Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, at the Global Esports Games.
The Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, at the Global Esports Games. Photo: Ben Queenborough/GEF

Ekrem Imamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul, is not only a fan of the Global Esports Games. He is also certain that his city is the perfect host for this celebration of youth, innovation, and limitless potential.


“It’s a really important event and it’s a great source of pride to us to be hosting the second Global Esports Games (GEG) here in Istanbul because Istanbul has a population of 16 million, and it actually has the world’s youngest population average,” the Mayor said during his visit to GEF_house at the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel and Conference Center.


“It’s a really interesting event for us to be hosting, and I’m really glad to be hosting an event that young people are so interested (in),” he added.


The Mayor, who visited the main arena as well as the playoff floors and the Global Esports Federation operation center, stopped regularly on his tour to greet and take selfies with young esports athletes from all over the world.


This #worldconnected aspect of #GEG22 is something that particularly appeals to the 52-year-old.


“We are seeing a new period where the sports habits of people are changing, and Istanbul is really proud to be hosting this meeting of so many countries, an international meeting.


“Istanbul is a meeting point of the East and West, many civilizations, and many cultures. Having such an event here in Istanbul is very valuable in this regard,” the Mayor said, before casting his mind ahead to another major global sporting event that he hopes will take place in his city in the future.

Chris Chan, President of GEF (left), and the Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, at the Global Esports Games.
Chris Chan, President of GEF (left), and the Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, at the Global Esports Games. Photo: Ben Queenborough/GEF

“As Istanbul is a candidate to be the host of the 2036 Olympic Games, it is an important step for us to be welcoming an international event here as a step towards the Olympic Games.”


The Mayor met excited members of Türkiye’s #GEG22 team, and swiftly revealed he is no stranger to esports himself.


“I do have three kids, two sons and one daughter. Their ages are 25, 17, and 11 and sometimes they go into their rooms and play (video) games. I tried playing their games, but I failed,” the Mayor laughed.


“They are really good players! Of course, I enjoy watching them play games. So, I am planning to be a very good viewer, not a player.”

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