Nearly 2 million Turks cast votes from abroad in presidential election runoff

Nearly 2 million Turks cast votes from abroad in presidential election runoff
Voting at Turkish diplomatic missions ended on Wednesday, as Turks abroad choose between President Erdogan and his main challenger Kilicdaroglu.
2 min read
25 May, 2023
Voting for Turkish citizens abroad ended on Wednesday [Abu Adem Muhammed/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Nearly 2 million Turkish nationals living abroad have cast their votes for the second round of the presidential election, according to official government figures. 

Voting concluded at diplomatic missions on Wednesday, while it will continue at customs gates until 5pm local time on Sunday. 

More than 1.89 million Turks - 1,895,430 - cast their votes at foreign missions and customs gates as of 10am Thursday morning, according to Turkey’s Supreme Election Council. 

This is nearly 56,000 higher than the 1.88 million votes cast from abroad during the first round of the election on 14 May. 

The election has been billed as a referendum on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two decades in power. He has been heavily criticised recently for the response to the devastating earthquake that rocked southern Turkey and northern Syria in February. 

He appears to have since recovered however amid a poor showing by the opposition, and his People’s Alliance won a majority in parliament during the first round. No presidential candidate achieved the 50 percent simple majority required to avoid a second round, although Erdogan did receive more than 49 percent. 

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Erdogan’s main challenger is opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the runoff vote, who received around 45 percent of the votes. 

Both leaders have been courting the votes of anti-immigrant parties ahead of the second round - Erdogan has been endorsed by Sinan Ogan, while Kilicdaroglu in particular has increased the use of anti-refugee rhetoric and received the support of the far-right Victory Party’s Umit Ozdag.