Thousands expected to vote across four days on whether to switch to an executive presidency system
Voting has begun in the UK for Turkey’s constitutional referendum, which could introduce an executive presidency system in the country.
Ballot boxes opened in London and Edinburgh on Thursday morning at 9am for the vote and will remain open up to 9pm every day until Sunday.
People in Turkey go to the polls the following Sunday, 16 April.
Turkey’s ambassador to the UK, Abdurrahman Bilgiç, and the consul-general Çınar Ergin were among those present as voting began on Thursday morning.
Mr Bilgiç said that voting had begun in an orderly manner and spoke of his delight that Turkish democracy was being celebrated in the UK.
Turkish passport holders living in London, the Midlands and south of England and in Wales will be able to vote at the Novotel London West. The nearest tube station is Hammersmith.
But voters living in the Scotland and the north of England will not have to travel down to London, as ballot boxes will also be opened at the offices of Turkey’s Edinburgh Consulate at Forsyth House, 93 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3ES.
As with elections in Turkey, voters will be required to present a form of identity that contains their national identity number (TC Kimlik Numarası), such as an identity card or passport.
British passports or non-Turkish identity documents will not be accepted.
Turkey’s Consul-General in the UK, Çınar Ergin, said that staff from the Consulate will be on hand at the polling station to guide voters to the correct ballot box.
VOTE AT THE AIRPORT
Turkish expatriates who are unable to in London or Edinburgh but are travelling to Turkey will have the option of voting at the border before they clear customs.
Ballot boxes have been set up at all of the country’s major airports, including Istanbul Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen, Ankara Esenboğa, İzmir Adnan Menderes and Dalaman, as well as the land crossings with Greece and Bulgaria and a number of sea ports.
Polling stations at Turkish airports and land and sea borders will remain open until 5pm local time on 16 April.
Haringey mayor Ali Gül Özbek was among those calling on eligible voters to cast their ballots.
Pointing to the lower-than-expected turnout during the 2015 general election (35%), Mr Özbek asid “You can say No or you can say Yes, what’s important is that you put your view across. You must absolutely voter to ensure democracy operates in a healthy manner.”