Istanbul to host World Basketball Championship
The official opening ceremony of the 2010 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Championship, the largest basketball event on the planet, will take place in Istanbul tonight. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, State Minister Faruk Nafiz Ozak and FIBA head Bob Elphinston will participate in the event at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Bakirkoy. During the ceremony, which will be broadcast on 172 different TV channels worldwide, famed circus troupe Cirque du Soleil will perform for the first time in Turkey. Turkish singers and composers Sezen Aksu, Fatih Erkoc and Muslum Gurses as well as Greece's Harris Alexiou and Italian tenor Alessandro Safina will also perform, as will Fire of Anatolia, a Turkish dance group. The 2010 FIBA World Championship will take place simultaneously in four Turkish cities – Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Kayseri – between Aug. 28 and Sept. 12. Around 350,000 people are expected to attend the championship. The first round of the championship, which is returning to Europe for the first time in 12 years, will feature basketball stars such as Boris Diaw, Carlos Arroyo and Anderson Varejao.