ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish racecar driver Isaac Tutumlu is the first to compete in international auto races under the Kurdish flag and is determined to raise his profile and that of his people.
Isaac Tutumlu, in an interview this week with Kurdistan 24, said, “It’s been more than two years since I first visited the Kurdistan Region. I came to visit my supporters when I first started the Barzani Racing Team, which is now the Kurdistan Racing Team.”
“I want to tell the people of Kurdistan that soon I will be participating in European races under the Kurdish Flag,” he said.
The 34-year-old driver believes racing is no less prestigious than any other sport and, through it, plans to help spread the name and the story of the Kurds to the world.
“In the Kurdistan Region, if you want to be a professional football player, you have to play for another team or club, as unfortunately, we don’t have our own team,“ he continued. “However, the world of car racing championships is different, as you can participate under your own country’s name, as I do under the flag of Kurdistan, and it gives me great joy.”
Tutumlu was born in the city of Barcelona. His father is a Kurd from a village near Ankara, Turkey, while his mother is of Catalan origin, also born in Barcelona. His interest in racecar driving began at a young age with go-karting until he eventually pursued his dreams of becoming a professional.
He has won numerous championships such as the Formula Catalunya, the Kart Club Valles Championship, and the Campionat de Catalunya, among others.
He aims to visit the Kurdistan Region soon to gain supporters and sponsors for upcoming races in 2020.
In October, as he finished in third place at the Dunlop 60 race held at Hockenheim, Germany, he dedicated his win to Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), where a Turkish cross-border offensive had just begun, leaving dozens killed and tens of thousands displaced.
“This result goes for all of our brothers from Rojava that are suffering the genocide in our land [sic],” Tutumlu told Kurdistan 24 after the race.
“We are racing for peace; we are racing for our country [of] Kurdistan!”
Editing by John J. Catherine.