This weekend marks the end of the chance to cast votes in the Turkish election from abroad. And so this gives us another opportunity to analyze what — if any — influence these votes have on the election as a whole. In the meantime, this election will be yet again another test for the Supreme Election Board (YSK). In the first election in which Turks could cast votes from abroad, the appointment system, which requires Turkish nationals to apply for an appointment and determine the day they will vote through an online procedure on the YSK website, was alleged to have had a negative effect on voter turnout. Even in cities like Berlin, where the population of Turks is particularly high, there were turnout rates as low as around 8 percent, which many pointed to as being one result of the appointment system for voting. This has subsequently been eliminated, but it likely not the only factor influencing low turnout. In the meantime, a great deal of curiosity surrounds the question of who exactly Turks abroad will be voting for.
Votes from abroad are also central in the crucial question of whether or not the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will surpass the 10 percent vote threshold, thus affecting the makeup of Parliament. For the HDP, votes from abroad are critical as to whether or not it will overcome the threshold; while it is expecting around 500,000 votes, even 250,000 from abroad would be a huge success for the HDP.
At the same time, while there are places in the world — like Europe — where the population of Turks is high but there is strong likelihood of low voter participation, since these places don’t have the same “election atmosphere” that Turkey has right now. Another important problem facing voters abroad is the distance to where the ballot boxes have been set up. Some voters in Australia have to undertake a three-hour plane ride, while some voters in Germany have to drive a few hours to reach their assigned ballot boxes; none of these are attractive options for potential voters.
Full Article: ALİ YURTTAGÜL – Votes from abroad and the coming election.