Half of Turkish voters in Germany submitted ballots ahead of Turkey’s snap election on June 24.
Out of the 1.44 million Turks eligible to vote at the polling stations set up in the country’s consulates and elsewhere, roughly 718,000 or 49.7 per cent, cast their ballots.
Polls were opened in Germany on June 7 and closed on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Turkish voters were able to pre-vote in 60 countries; they can still vote at Turkey’s border gates until June 24.
Turkish citizens living in Germany represent the largest national group of the 3 million registered voters outside Turkey – 5 percent of the overall electorate.
The highest voter turnout was in cities with large Turkish populations, such as Cologne, Düsseldorf and Essen.
The voter turnout level matched that of 2017’s constitutional referendum, which saw just 50 percent eligible voters in Germany participate.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is seeking re-election, generally has support among Turks in Germany, but relations have been strained between Germany and Turkey since a failed coup against Turkish President Erdogan in 2016 and the subsequent crackdown that followed.
‘Mood of intimidation’
Ahead of the vote, some German politicians expressed concern that Turks might be being pressured to vote for Erdogan.
“A mood of intimidation has spread among citizens of Turkish origin in Germany in recent years,” said Gokay Akbulut, MP for the Left Party. “Many no longer dare to express their political views openly because they fear that this could create problems for relatives in Turkey,” he continued.
Read more: Turkey elections: Can Erdogan really lose?
German MP for the Christian Democrats, Roderich Kiesewetter, said many Turkish voters were concerned about civil rights in the country.
“Many eligible voters have become increasingly critical of the negative effects on the Turkish economy and civil rights that have resulted from Erdogan’s restructuring of the country,” Kiesewetter said
law/kms (dpa, Reuters)