Turkish expats register high turnout rate in light of elections
The Turkish diaspora is making a record turnout rate in light of the break-neck election that could determine the country's future.
The polling stations outside of Turkey saw a high turnout rate by Turkish expatriates seeking to vote in light of the decisive presidential and parliamentary elections in the country, the Turkish Hurriyet daily reported on Wednesday.
The polling stations erected abroad on April 27 have seen a huge turnout, especially in Germany and Italy, the daily reported.
More than 800,000 Turkish citizens have cast their votes abroad in the first six days of the vote, a significant increase from the turnout rate in the 2018 election, when only 328,575 people cast their votes in the first five days.
As of Tuesday, 797,473 Turkish citizens were registered to vote at Turkish missions around the world, with 62,041 others registering to vote at the border gates and airports.
"The voter turnout for voters abroad exceeded 20% on the sixth day," said Recep Ozil, the representative of the Justice and Development Party in the elections board.
Republican People's Party representative Mehmet Hadimi Yakupoglu said the voting process abroad was going "smoothly", noting that the turnout rates were adequate.
After the conclusion of the voting process, three Turkish airliners will be chartered on May 9 to deliver the ballot boxes to Turkey under the supervision of diplomats and employees appointed by the High Elections Board, and the representatives of political parties will be able to participate as observers.
According to estimates, Germany has a significantly higher turnout rate than during the previous elections, in which the participation rate was only 45%, a 16% increase from 2018.
Expatriates' votes are highly important in Turkey, where in 2018, the expatriates from the state of Kahramanmaras contributed to the transfer of the parliamentary seat from the Good Party to the Republican People's Party.
Turkish researcher Sezin Oney told Al Mayadeen that the Turkish diaspora is mostly consisting of current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP supporters, adding that the elections are proving to be a point of no return on an international level.
She said that defense and military firms also play a significant role but the economy is the main factor.
Al Mayadeen's correspondent to Ankara, Omar Kayed, reported that opinion polls in the nation, often do not count foreign votes and added that the polls are currently discussing how indecisive the first round is turning out to be - after voting for Turkish citizens outside the country began April 2 and will continue until the 9th of May.
During a press conference at the Turkish Supreme Election Commission’s HQ in Ankara, the head of the country's High Election Board (YSK), Ahmet Yener, said that the total number of registered voters expected to partake in the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections has amounted to a total of 64,113,941 votes; 60,697,843 are on Turkish mainland, and the rest are in the diaspora.