Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections began Thursday for Turkish expats in Germany.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years, faces his biggest test yet in the elections, which began on May 14.
Recent surveys show Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who leads a rare secular, conservative, and nationalist opposition coalition, running neck-and-neck.
German voting information
Turkish expatriates can vote until May 9. Nearly 2.8 million Germans have Turkish ancestry, and 1.5 million are Turkish nationals and eligible to vote.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry informed Turkey of 16 permitted polling booths.
“Turkish elections have never approved so many voting booths. The ministry reported 13 in 2018 and 2017.
Berlin confirmed polling stations in all Turkish consulates. Berlin, Düsseldorf, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Münster, Hamburg, Hannover, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Mainz, Munich, Nürnberg, Stuttgart, Aachen, Bremen, and Regensburg.
According to DPA, Turkey’s election body, the YSK, had announced 26 voting stations in Germany.
Erdogan’s German popularity
Before the 2018 presidential election, Erdogan accused Germany of hindering his campaign.
The Foreign Ministry warned Thursday that high-ranking foreign politicians are not allowed to campaign in Germany in the 30 days before the election.
After a 2014 Erdogan rally in Cologne, where he galvanized supporters ahead of that year’s election, he was banned in 2018. German MPs urged Erdogan to cancel the gathering.
German Turks have historically supported Erdogan. In 2018, he won 64.8% of their votes and 52.6% at home.
Germany leads. Erdogan earned 17% of Turkish American, 21% UK, 35% Iranian, and 29% Qatari votes in the same election.
As Kilicdaroglu’s popularity rises, the 69-year-old leader’s backing remains uncertain.
Germany’s Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir, a hard Erdogan critic with Circassian family connections in Turkey, told RND that a Kilicdaroglu victory “would pave the way for a return to democracy.”
Kilicdaroglu, 74, leads a six-party opposition alliance that wants to return Turkey to a “strong parliamentary system.”