MANILA, Philippines — Yilmaz Bektas denied he took out a former Miss Universe, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, on a personal date last March 26, saying paparazzi photos showing them were of a “business” meeting.
Bektas was reacting to published photos of him and Mendoza, a Puerto Rican, in several publications in Turkey, which were also forwarded to Inquirer Entertainment columnist Dolly Anne Carvajal and appeared in her Dollywood column on Monday.
Carvajal named a Turkish national named Kenan as the source of the photos. Carvajal quoted Kenan’s e-mail as saying:
“After she arrived at the Ataturk Airport in the private plane, they chose to check in at the Hotel Les Ottomans King Suit, which is famous [among] the jet society. Since the hotel doesn’t have a heliport, they went to the Ciragan Palace first via helicopter. Then they boarded a black Mercedes car with two guards in tow.
“After resting in the hotel for a few hours, they went to the famous Zuma Restaurant. They didn’t want to be caught by the paparazzi so they came to the restaurant separately.”
In a statement faxed to INQUIRER.net, Bektas said his relationship with Mendoza was only for “business” and that he issued the denial because the photos “had negative impact on both mine and Zuleyka Rivera (Mendoza)’s private and business life.”
“Zuleyka Rivera (Mendoza)’s visit in Turkey was only a business trip and I…accompanied her as a matter of courtesy,” Bektas said in the statement. He said he was with Mendoza at the restaurant in his capacity as board chair of the family business Intel Group of Companies, which has interests in several Turkish industries.
Bektas said the press wrongly “assumed” he and Mendoza had ties “far more than a business relationship” and that he was making the announcement to “avoid future troubles.”
Bektas figured prominently in news items last year due to his separation from wife Ruffa Gutierrez, who charged him of physical abuse. Bektas, on the other hand, accused Gutierrez of having a bigamous relationship with Filipino-American Richard Daloia, whom he alleged she was still married to at the time of their wedding in 2001.