Relatively low turnout so far in Germany in landmark Turkish snap elections: Agency

Relatively low turnout so far in Germany in landmark Turkish snap elections: Agency

Relatively low turnout so far in Germany in landmark Turkish snap elections: Agency

The turnout among Turkish voters in Germany for Turkey’s snap presidential and parliamentary elections has so far been relatively low, German news agency dpa has reported, citing official data. 

Some 343,129 voters out of the 1,440,000 registered Turkish nationals living in Germany and are eligible to vote in elections have hit the polls around Germany and at customs gates so far, the agency reported, citing data released by Turkey’s Supreme Elections Council (YSK).

The data shows that only a quarter of registered voters living in Germany have cast their votes in the snap elections since the ballot boxes were placed in various locations on June 7.

Some 312,627 cast votes in one of the 13 Turkish consulates, while 30,502 registered marked their ballots and sealed their envelopes at customs gates, the agency reported.

Essen so far stands in first place in terms of turnout rates with 32.7 percent of registered voters there having hit the polls, Duesseldorf follows with 28.4 percent and Cologne stands in third place with a turnout rate of 27.2 percent, dpa reported.

Deutsche Welle speculated that the reason why turnout rates could be relatively low in Germany during these elections could be due to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when many fast throughout the day.

Ramadan ended on June 14 with a religious holiday, Eid al-Fitr, taking over, and the turnout rate could change due to that, an Istanbul MP from the longtime-ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said.

Mustafa Yeneroğlu told dpa that they expect the turnout in the landmark elections to even surpass the controversial April 2017 referendum on shifting to a presidential system, which was marred by voting irregularities.

For the April 2017 referendum the turnout rate in Germany rose by nine percent in the final six days, the agency reported.

The last vote in Germany in the Turkish elections this time will be cast on June 19. If the presidential elections make it to a second round, a second round of voting will take place between June 30 and July 4.

Around three million Turkish nationals living abroad in 60 countries are registered to vote, making up five percent of total voters in Turkey’s elections.

Turnout in Austria also relatively low

Turnout rates have also been relatively low in Austria so far, dpa reported. 

Only a quarter of the 106,000 eligible voters have cast their votes, a number that is 15.8 percent lower the turnout rate for the 2017 referendum.

In the April 2017 referendum, a larger percentage of voters in Germany and Austria backed the changes compared to the rate that emerged from the ballot boxes in Turkey.

Turkey’s parties not allowed to campaign in Germany, Austria

Ties between Ankara and a number of European countries were strained in 2017 ahead of the April 2017 referendum, when a number of government ministers sought to drum up support in countries with large Turkish communities such as the Netherlands and Germany. Those countries imposed bans on security grounds, prompting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and some of his allies at the time to compare the German government to “Nazis.” 

For the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, Sarajevo was the only campaign stop for the longtime ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Erdoğan, after governments in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands said they would not allow rallies for the Turkish elections.