07/31/2012 12:28 EDT | Updated 09/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Turkish PM says choosing Istanbul to host 2020 Olympics would strengthen world peace

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's Islamic prime minister says choosing Istanbul as the host of the 2020 Olympics would amount to a peace message to counter the so-called clash of civilizations.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his government is "strongly" backing Istanbul's fifth bid to host the games and that selecting the city, which straddles Europe and Asia, would strengthen the alliance between differing cultures and religions. Erdogan spoke during a televised address to the nation on Tuesday.

The International Olympic Committee has shortlisted Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid to stage the 2020 games. The host city will be announced on Sept. 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.