Turkish citizens living abroad begin casting votes in snap elections
The voting process started at 8:00 a.m. local time [05:00 GMT] at customs gates in Istanbul’s Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen airports, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The voters also headed to polls at the Kapıkule and İpsala border gates in the northwestern Edirne province and at the Dereköy border gate in the northwestern Kırklareli province.
“I am very happy to have cast the first vote here. We love our country so much,” Süheyla Kara, who was the first expatriate to cast a vote at Kapıkule border gate, told the agency.
She was traveling to the central Konya province from Belgium.
Over three million Turkish citizens living abroad will be able to vote for 24 hours every day including weekends at border gates. The voting process will end at 5 p.m. local time [14:00GMT] on June 24.
Six candidates are competing in the presidential race while eight political parties are taking part in the parliamentary elections, which were rescheduled to a year and a half before the original date following the parliament’s approval on April 20 of a joint proposal of the longtime ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to hold snap elections.
Last April, the Turkish Parliament passed a bill for early elections, cementing Turkey’s move to a presidential system—a much controversial step, criticized by numerous civic organizations as well as the EU, as a measure diverting from democratic standards.
The bill followed the referendum in which Turkish voters had approved the switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.
Ballot boxes in 60 countries
Voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time on weekdays and weekends at the foreign missions, the report said.
During last year’s constitutional referendum, Turkish expats voted at 120 missions in 57 countries. This year, Malta, Serbia, and Moldova were added to the list.
Voting will span over 13 days in three countries and one day in 24 countries.
Turkish voters in Germany, France, and Austria will vote on June 7-19.
Voting in Australia will be held on June 9-17.
In Norway, Turkish citizens will be able to vote on June 14-19.
Turkish voters in Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland will vote on June 15-19.
In the United Kingdom, Turkish citizens will be able to vote on June 16-19.
Turkish voters in Bulgaria, Canada and the Turkish Cyprus will vote on June 16-18.
In China, Russia, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Lebanon, Israel and Ukraine, the votingwill be held on June 16-17.