Understanding Turkey's Long Debate on Extending Voting Rights to External Residents through Parliamentary Minutes

ANAZ N., Kose M.

Diaspora Studies, vol.15, no.4, pp.356-379, 2022 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/09763457-bja10025
  • Journal Name: Diaspora Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.356-379
  • Keywords: diaspora policy, extending voting rights, overseas voting, Turkish diaspora, Turkish elections abroad
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022 Copyright 2022 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.Extending voting rights to citizens living abroad has been one of the longest debated subjects in the Turkish Parliament, even more persistent than is generally assumed in academic and political circles. In this study, we aim to understand how Turkish political decision-makers conceived Turkey's external residents' right to vote from abroad and the rationalisations and conjectures put forward by parliamentarians during different political times. For this purpose, we traced parliamentary minutes back from the beginning of Turkey's two party-system to the present. We found that two channels of demand for change existed: pressure from citizens living overseas and individual parliamentarians who had connections with residents abroad. We also noticed that opposition parties' agenda towards the Turkish diaspora's right to vote differed when they took control of the government. Additionally, we found that coups d'état and the established bureaucracy in Turkey resisted the diaspora's right to participate in national elections.