Tens of thousands vote in UK leg of Turkish executive presidency poll
About two-fifths of Turkish expatriates turned out to vote in the UK leg of the executive presidency referendum, which concludes in Turkey next week.
34,457 people voted at the Novotel London West over four days over voting last week, while 1,434 cast ballots at the Turkish consulate in Edinburgh.
It was a turnout of 38.4% from the 89,553 voters registered in Britain, although the precise figure cannot be determined because it could include expatriates resident in other countries.
Voting hours were longer this time than at previous overseas elections – between 9am and 9pm – and for the first time expatriates were not allocated a specific ballot box, meaning they could vote in whichever city they preferred.
The Turkish consulate in Knightsbridge was open throughout the weekend to help anyone who misplaced their identity papers and to ensure they can vote before the ballots closed on Sunday.
Consul general Çınar Ergin said he was pleased with the smooth voting operation. Under YSK rules, he said, representatives from three Turkish political parties – the Justice and
Development (AK) Party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – appointed observers to the ballot boxes and will supervise their return to Turkey.
Voters in Turkey will go to the polls on Sunday 16 April, a week after expatriate voters, to decide whether to grant sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Turkish government says the proposals are needed to streamline the decision-making process, but critics say they concentrate too much power in the hands of one man – Mr Erdoğan.
There are approximately three million Turkish expatriates registered to vote worldwide, with 1,400,046 people in 57 countries casting ballots so far. Expatriate voting continues until Sunday at Turkish airports and land border crossings.