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Expats in W.Balkans begin voting in Türkiye’s presidential, parliamentary polls

Turkish overseas voters started casting their ballots in the Western Balkans on Saturday for Türkiye’s upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

Voting started at 9.00 a.m. local time (0700GMT) and will continue for 12 hours, reopening on Sunday for the same period.

Voters formed long lines in front of the Turkish embassies

Ahmet Burak Dogan who cast his ballot in Serbia’s capital Belgrade, said he had fulfilled his civic duty.

“I recommend everyone do this. Good luck for our country,” said Dogan.

Ufuk Erarslan, who traveled more than 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) to cast his vote, said he participated in the elections for a better future for his country.

“We will use our vote so that we have the right to criticize everything,” he said.

Ayse Gonul said she wanted to come and vote as early as possible.

“Good luck for Türkiye. I think everyone should cast their votes,” she said.

There are nearly 2,311 eligible Turkish voters in Serbia, according to data by Türkiye’s Supreme Election Council.

Expatriates can cast their votes in the capital Belgrade and in the Consulate General of Novi Pazar.

The voting process has also started in Kosovo’s capital Pristina.

Ambassador Sabri Tunc Angili told Anadolu he was expecting great interest in the elections from Turkish voters.

“This year, it is possible to vote in 73 countries in our 151 representative offices, and we increased the number of them compared to 2018. I hope it will be beneficial for our entire nation, our country,” said Angili.

There are 2,192 registered voters across Kosovo.

Voters will be able to vote at the embassy in Pristina and Consulate General in Prizren.

The Turkish Embassy in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica opened its doors for 1,704 registered voters.

Turkish nationals in Portugal also went to the polls in the capital Lisbon, with 1,484 Turkish voters registered in the country, according to Supreme Election Board data.

Meanwhile, ballot boxes were set up for the first time in Slovakia. The procedure began at the embassy in Bratislava, with participation high.

Ambassador Yunus Demirer told Anadolu that voters were greatly interested in the ballot.

“A lot of interest as soon as the voting hour arrived. We’re very pleased with this. The tendency of our citizens abroad to vote more in each election and to participate more in political life is very pleasing for all of us,” said Demirer.

Bahattin Demiral, who has been living in Slovakia for 28 years and came to the embassy to vote from a distance of 450 km, said he was very pleased with the decision to open ballot boxes.

“The establishment of ballot boxes in Bratislava is a great thing for the homeland,” said Demiral.

On their ballots, voters will choose between four presidential hopefuls, in the following order: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (seeking reelection), Muharrem Ince, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and Sinan Ogan. In addition, 24 political parties and 151 independent candidates are vying for all 600 seats in the Turkish parliament.

Some 3.41 million people are expected to cast their votes abroad, including nearly 278,000 young first-time voters.

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