In 1978 the Balkan Rally Championship and in 1983 the European Rally Championship were held in Turkey.
In the 1980s, when cigarette companies emerged as the main sponsors of car rallies, Turkish drivers won a series of international events. In 1984 Renç Koçibey and Can Ünlü, and in 1985 Kalevi Aho became Balkan champions. Other Turkish drivers who achieved international success were Serdar Bostanci, Ali Bacioglu, Iskender Atakan, Ali Deveci, Nejat Avci and Ercan Kazaz. In 1999 Volkan Isik, a member of Team Atakan, which was established by Iskender Atakan and sponsored by a cigarette firm, came second in the FIA Teams Cup, part of the World Rally Championship, and in 2000 Serkan Yazici of the same team came third in the same cup. From an average of 35 to 40 teams participating in the Turkish Rally Championship events in 1998 and 1999, numbers soared to 80 to 85 in 2000, and this, coupled with international successes, attracted rising public interest in the