ISTANBUL — Turkishpolice raided illegal street races on Istanbul's Asian side late Sunday, issuing fines to drivers. Acting on tipoffs, the traffic police squads launched an operation named "Formula" in Bostancı, a popular spot among street racers overlooking the Bosporus.
Drivers of 207 high-end cars modified for races were fined for threatening road safety, pollution emanating from refashioned exhaust pipes as well and installing banned car parts. The police impounded 45 cars while remaining cars were returned to their owners on the condition that banned parts be removed from them.
It was reported that the street races were organized via a social media campaign and that spectators placed bets on racers.
Bostancı, particularly its posh Bağdat Avenue, has been the scene of street racing for decades but illegal street racing has seen a rapid rise particularly in recent years with its subculture gaining popularity among Turkish youth. Upscale districts like Bostancı are notorious for races involving upmarket cars, but interest in illegal races is also high among lowincome motorists or the affluent youth nostalgic for domestic-made cars who spend millions to upgrade makes such as Doğans and Şahins, two wildly soughtafter low-cost cars whose production ended in 2004.