Swedish elections begin in Turkey’s Kulu district
Swedish citizens of Turkish decent have started to cast a ballot for Sweden’s upcoming elections in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Konya’s Kulu district.
Thousands of Swedish electors, who are currently residing in Turkey, began to vote on Aug. 16 at the Honorary Consulate of Sweden in Kulu for Sweden’s parliamentary and local elections.
The voting period will continue between Aug. 16-19 and Aug. 27-28.
The majority of people of Turkish descent living in Sweden are from Kulu as the flow of migration from Kulu to Sweden started in 1965.
There are currently around 50,000 people in Sweden who have migrated from Kulu or who have ancestral roots in the district.
Some 20,000 of these people are eligible to vote in the Swedish elections scheduled for Sept. 9. According to Swedish Authorities, around 10,000 Swedish citizens are expected to cast their ballots in Turkey.
Deputy candidates of Turkish descendent are currently running an election campaign in Kulu. Mikail Yüksel, Muharrem Demirok and Sultan Kayhan, who have been nominated as parliamentary candidates, are all from Kulu themselves.
“I came here to make the Swedish people cast a ballot. It is nice that people are using their democratic rights,” Kayhan was quoted as saying by Demirören News Agency on Aug. 16.
Yüksel also said he would be present in Kulu during the election period.
“The voting is currently continuing. Our citizens should come and cast their votes. That is good for democracy. This election is very important for Sweden,” Yüksek reportedly said.
Thirty-six-year-old Yüksel is an active member of Sweden’s Centre Party (Centerpartiet), which is part of the country’s current coalition government.
Yüksel migrated to the Swedish city of Gothenburg in 2001 and has risen from working as a dishwasher to running for a seat in the Swedish parliament.
Having worked as a taxi driver, a welder and at a pizza restaurant in Sweden, Yüksel later went back to continue his education and studied at the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg.
The agency has also given place to some of the voters’ statements.
“We have double citizenship. We are content that this service has come to us,” said Hasan Demirörs, one of the voters.
“It is a good opportunity. We are retired and we live here. We are from Kulu but at the same time we are citizens of Sweden,” said Mehmet Saygın, another voter.