TOKYO – If any world leader is thanking the heavens for Japan’s Shinzo Abe, it is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
That was hardly the vibe in 2013 when Tokyo outmaneuvered Istanbul to score a 2020 Summer Olympics that had been Turkey’s for the taking. For months, the sporting and geopolitical worlds alike had reveled in the idea of the Olympic torch burning in the vicinity of the Middle East for the first time.
Tokyo came out of nowhere to best Istanbul. It did not go over well.
Erdogan accused the International Olympic Committee of “cutting ties with” the Muslim world. Yet Erdogan could be excused for enjoying some schadenfreude today as he watches pandemic-plagued Tokyo 2020 zoom off the rails.