Turkey takes steps to ensure security of expat votes

Turkey is taking every step to ensure the security of votes of Turkish expats, who will participate in the country's presidential and general elections between June 7 and June 19.

Citizens living inside Turkey will vote on June 24.

A five-person commission will be formed for keeping and delivering ballot boxes at every voting point. The commission will be responsible for keeping the votes in special dungeon-like rooms at foreign missions that have five locks each.

The commission will be chaired by the ambassador or the consul general; it will also consist of one representative each from three major political parties, and one civil servant on duty at the mission.

The commission will receive ballots delivered from the Foreign Ministry and keep them in the special rooms. Each person from the commission will have a different lock so it could only be opened together.

A total of 123 foreign missions in 60 countries are making great efforts to receive the votes smoothly and in accordance with regulations specified by the Supreme Board of Election (YSK).

The YSK and the Foreign Ministry have determined the needs of the 123 missions and delivered the required election materials -- chief among them were ballot papers.

A total of 3,049,065 people have registered to vote from abroad. Ballot papers were sent to several locations where the majority of Turkish expats live, especially in Europe and the Middle East, via diplomatic cargo.

Ballots were also delivered via diplomatic couriers to other locations, including Americas, Australia, and the Far East, in order to prevent any delays.

In countries where a large Turkish population resides -- Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxembourg -- the ballots were delivered to voting points via Turkish Airlines.

According to new regulations of the YSK, a new ballot box will be opened for each day at missions where voting takes place for more than a day.

Voting will begin on June 7 and end June 19 for Turkish expats.

After voting ends, all votes will be locked up and delivered back to capital Ankara before June 24.

The votes will be delivered back in various ways, including via three Turkish Airlines chartered planes and diplomatic couriers after being checked by authorities of the YSK and the Foreign Ministry.

By applying to the YSK, Turkish political parties will be able to supervise every stage of the voting process.

Last April, the parliament passed a bill for early elections, cementing Turkey's move to a presidential system.

Six candidates are contesting in the presidential race while eight political parties are taking part in the parliamentary elections.

In the April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters had approved the switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.

Source: Anadolu Agency