Turkey is a parliamentary republic that was declared in 1923 after the fall of Ottoman Empire. The parliament is made of 550 MPs, one PM and one President. Unlike other democratic countries, President has no party and governing duties. Basically, Presidency is a ceremonial office where President represents the head of state. In Turkey’s history of democracy, presidents (until the last Presidential Election) used be elected by MPs in parliament.
However with the some constitutional changes, citizens got chance to elect the president. With the last Presidential Election, Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved to Presidential Office and he became first elected President by public. Nevertheless, Turkish citizens living abroad were not pleased because of the new voting system in abroad.
One of the main reasons why electors living abroad were unpleasant was because of miscommunication between electors and Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey (YSK, Yüksek Seçim Kurulu) and Embassies. Apparently all related bodies failed to inform the electors properly about the assigned day of vote.
Electors received no emails or calls from YSK and/or Embassy. Therefore they assumed that they could vote in 3 days. Unfortunately, thousands of people couldn’t succeed due to the lack of communication and systematic issues that affected the participation. Some electors had to take day off from work and travel long hours to the embassies. However most of them either missed the appointed day and time
or found out at the gate that they had different schedule which resulted in voting rate to drop around 10 percent abroad.
In conclusion, first election that was performed abroad showed that notifying the electors related to specific schedule for voting was not done properly or in a professional manner. It is observed that YSK and Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not in collaboration in Presidential Election. To prevent low voter turnout, YSK and Ministry of Foreign Affairs could have sent emails, mails and made phone calls to voters and community leaders about how, when, and where to vote. It would’ve been even better if everyone would vote on the same day in Turkey and abroad. Unfortunately this part of the communication was not clearly raised by media.
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