Turkish citizens in the UK and Russia have also started to vote in Turkey’s general election
*UPDATES WITH VOTING BEGINS IN UK, RUSSIA
ROME – Turkish citizens living in Italy, UK and Russia have begun casting their votes to participate in Turkey’s general election that officially starts on June 7.
On the first day of polls in Italy, the voting began at 10 a.m., local time and ended at 7 p.m. Friday at polling stations set up inside Turkey’s Rome embassy and the Milan consulate.
“We are very happy to be able to cast our votes here,” Hakan Sonmez, a Turkish citizen, told Anadolu Agency. “Our wish (in Turkey) is people’s fraternity,” Sonmez added.
Some 13,000 Turkish citizens are eligible to vote in Italy. On the first day of polling, 298 people casted their votes at the embassy, while 902 went to the polls at the consulate.
“The first day of the voting went well, without any problem. Our expectation is the electoral turnout to increase on Saturday and Sunday,” Aylin Sekizkok, consul general at the Milan consulate, said.
The voting will continue until 7 p.m., local time Sunday.
– Voting in U.K.
Turkish citizens living in the U.K. have also begun casting their votes.
The voting started Saturday at 10 a.m. at polling stations set up inside the Olympia Conference Center in London and at Turkey’s Edinburgh consulate. The two-day voting is scheduled to end at 7 p.m., local time Sunday.
Around 85,000 Turks are eligible to vote in the U.K., out of which 81,643 live in London and 2,915 voters live in Edinburgh, according to Turkey’s Supreme Election Board.
“We expect higher electoral turnout in this election, compared to the recent presidential elections,” Emirhan Yorulmazlar, Turkish consul general in London, said.
– Voting in Russia
Turkish citizens in Russia have also begun voting at Turkish missions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and Novorossiysk city. Over 11,000 Turks are eligible to vote across Russia, out of which around 8,000 live in capital Moscow.
In Kyrgyzstan, around 1,800 Turks are expected to cast their votes at the polling station in Turkey’s embassy in Bishkek, during the two-day voting period. The voting, which began at 10 a.m. Saturday, is due to end at 7 p.m. Sunday.
According to Turkey’s Supreme Election Board, 112 polling stations have been set up for almost three million Turkish nationals living abroad.
Elections in Turkey have the second-highest voter turnout among developed democracies, according to a report released by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.
More than 84 percent of the electorate went to the polls in the 2011 general election, according to the report comparing turnout rates in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member states.
The upcoming June elections will elect 550 members of the Turkish parliament from 20 political parties. This will be the country’s 25th general election.