Women's World Championship in Istanbul? 'The Women's World Chess Championship was scheduled to be held in Argentina from June 18 to July 11 this year. It is a knock-out event with 64 participants. Unfortunately the Argentinian bid has been retracted, after FIDE extended the deadline a number of times. Now it was too late to find a new sponsor – until the Turkish Chess Federation stepped in and made an informal bid. However the time constraints were most severe and nobody was sure that the estimated $500,000 staging costs could be found at such short notice. Ali Nihat Yazici and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov discussed the matter with Minister Basesgioglu, who spontaneously offered the full support of his government. The TCF and IsBankas can now spring into action. We estimate (based on past exprience) that they will pull it off.' [25 March 2008; Chessbase.com]
A Turkish news source mentioned an additional difficulty.
Turkey solves chess headscarf crisis 'Initially it was Argentina that was picked as the host country for the championship, but it later announced that it would not be able to host the event and Iran stepped in instead. However problems arose during initial meetings between FIDE and Iranian representatives, when Iran set conditions like wearing headscarves and preventing men from entering the championship arena. Furthermore it said Israeli players would not be allowed into the country. Turkey will host the event in Istanbul in December.' [29 March 2008; turkishdailynews.com.tr]
According to FIDE documents, which are not currently available since Fide.com was redesigned, Argentina was not the first choice.
Presidential Board Meeting, January 26-28th, 2007 'The Presidential Board reviewed preparations and decided on bids regarding the following chess tournaments: [...] Women’s World Chess Championship 2008 will be held on March 8-25th, 2008 in Prague, Czech Republic'
The next mention of the event was the agenda for the 78th FIDE Congress in November. The agenda and minutes have also gone AWOL.
78th FIDE Congress 14-16 November 2007 Antalya, Turkey '30. Women’s World Chess Championship 2008. The event shall be held in San Luis, Argentina. Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos to report.'
Prague -> San Luis -> Iran -> Istanbul Regulations for the Women`s World Chess Championship Cycle.
Later: I discovered that the old FIDE site is available at http://220.127.116.11/. Thanks, FIDE!