One detained for voting twice as record number of Turkish expats go to polls
A Turkish citizen has been detained for voting both in Belgium and in Turkey.
The Turkish citizen who resides in Belgium had stirred outrage on social media this week when she shared photos showing her casting votes both in the Turkish Embassy in Belgium and at the customs gate of Adnan Menderes Airport in the western Turkish province of İzmir.
Voting in Turkey is set to start on June 24, but for Turkish expat citizens voting abroad, the polls are now closed.
Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) chair Sadi Güven said June 20 that the YSK sent the photos to a prosecutor and the suspect was detained in İzmir.
“Investigation continues. We will work against any kind of corruption in the elections. The law stipulates jail sentences of up to five years,” Güven said.
The woman was able to vote twice because the officials in İzmir apparently had made a mistake with a namesake. According to Güven’s statement, the double voting could be prevented if the woman’s parent names and other ID details were checked.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül announced that the authorities are investigating “whether this crime was individual or organized.”
“The person has testified to the prosecutor and was brought to Ankara from İzmir. Prosecutors are investigating whether this crime was organized and whether there was a forgery of documents. Voting twice or voting on behalf of another person is a grave crime,” Gül told private broadcaster NTV on June 20.
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office also stressed that the suspect, identified only as Şengül A., was being probed to find out whether she carried two ID cards.
Record turnout abroad
A record number of Turks living abroad have turned up to cast their votes in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections, Güven announced on the same day.
The YSK announced the turnout after expat voting ended in 51 countries.
According to official YSK figures, it reached 48.78 percent, with a total of 1,486,408 Turkish citizens heading to the polls between June 7 and 19.
Over 3 million Turks living abroad are eligible to vote in the elections.
Turkish citizens living abroad and traveling to Turkey this month can also cast their votes at customs gates until 5 p.m. local time on June 24.
Six candidates are running for president while eight political parties are taking part in the parliamentary elections.
If the presidential election goes to a second round, voters will go to the polls again on one of the following Sundays.