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Turks abroad vote in record numbers in elections

Updated June 21, 2018

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ISTANBUL: The number of Turks voting abroad in this month’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey rose to a record level of 1.49 million, the head of the High Election Board, Sadi Guven, said on Wednesday.

The elections are taking place in Turkey on Sunday, when President Tayyip Erdogan will be seeking to extend his 15-year rule and assume sweeping new presidential powers which he says the country needs to address economic and security threats.

Voting at Turkish diplomatic missions abroad began on June 7 and finished on Tuesday evening. Polls suggest the elections may be close, with Erdogan’s AK Party possibly losing its parliamentary majority and the presidential vote potentially going to a second round.

Some 3.047 million Turkish voters are registered abroad, meaning the turnout of foreign voters currently stands at 48.8 per cent. Expatriates can still vote at Turkey’s border gates until June 24.

The turnout level in Turkey itself is generally much higher and stood at 85 per cent at the last parliamentary election in November 2015.

In that election, the number of voters abroad totalled 1.3 million and in a referendum last year the number rose to 1.4 million, according to data from state-run Anadolu news agency.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2018