Turkish rally drivers win race after getting beaten up by Energy Minister’s bodyguards
Banu ŞEN - İZMİR
Two bodyguards of Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız were among the group who attacked two drivers taking part in an official street rally in the western city of İzmir on June 22, Energy Ministry officials have confirmed to daily Hürriyet.
“We learned about the issue from media reports. The claims are being investigated,” one official said, on condition of anonymity, while also confirming that the bodyguards were driving a car commissioned by İzmir’s Governorate at the time.
Rally driver Taner Şengezener and his co-pilot, Bora Yılmaz, were leading the local Atlantis Rally when a group of six or seven men armed with guns came out of two black cars and beat them.
Şengezener, who later won the race, said the minister’s bodyguards attacked them because of their “reckless” driving and would not listen to their claim that they were racing in the fifth stage of the Atlantis Rally.
“They wanted to see our documents. When Taner [Şengezener] leaned towards the dashboard to take them, the attackers started to punch us. I lost my vision temporarily. I still can’t touch my nose,” co-pilot Bora Yılmaz said, stressing that Minister Yıldız was not in the black car but they will nonetheless file a legal complaint.