Pro-Kurdish HDP becomes main opposition in overseas vote

Map of overseas votes in Turkey's elections

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) could be forgiven for casting a rueful eye at the tallies for overseas voting in the country’s June 7 election after the governing party captured almost half of the total vote abroad, in contrast to its nine-point fall in the overall count. Mirroring its breakthrough in Turkey, however, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) excelled overseas, polling the second highest with 20.41 percent of the vote.

Throughout the campaign, the AKP sought to ensure the HDP did not win the 10 percent needed to enter parliament in Turkey so that it could win a super-majority to alter the constitution and implement a presidential system through a popular referendum. If the overseas vote had been the only election, the ruling party would have received its wish – albeit because the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and not the HDP, failed to pass the 10 percent hurdle, gaining just 9.24 percent of the vote abroad. The Republican People’s Party (CHP), normally the country’s main opposition party, was the third highest overseas, taking home 17.03 percent of the vote.

Voters cast ballots in 54 countries; unsurprisingly, the most votes came from Germany, where over 474,000 Turkish citizens – or just under half the total number of voters worldwide – lined up to vote in the elections, according to data from Anadolu Agency. In contrast, just 64 citizens made their way to a polling station in New Zealand to vote on May 31.

Overseas votes in Turkey's election01

Turks in Germany voted 53 percent in favor of the AKP, while, mirroring the trend worldwide, second place went to the HDP with 17 percent. The AKP was especially strong in Western European countries where there is a large Turkish diaspora, coming first in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Norway. At the same time, voters in most Arab countries, particularly in North Africa, also opted for the ruling party.

Bucking the trend, however, were voters in Britain, where 59.2 percent of citizens plumped for the HDP, relegating the AKP to a comparatively negligible 14 percent, behind the CHP. Notably, voters in Italy, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden, which has an active Kurdish and Syriac diaspora with roots in Turkey, all voted for the HDP as well.

The CHP carried the United States, Russia and other countries – albeit ones in which there were fewer voters. Turks working in the Gulf largely supported the CHP, with Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait all selecting the country’s social democrats, as did a sizable proportion in Saudi Arabia at 32 percent. Many Turkish citizens of Arab background work in the Gulf thanks to their linguistic skills, including sizable numbers from the country’s Arab Alevi community, who traditionally vote heavily for the CHP.

Turks in Israel also voted for the CHP – a development that was not lost on pro-government daily Takvim, which conspicuously noted that citizens in Israel and Britain, two countries that spend an inordinate amount of time hatching nefarious plots to halt Turkey’s inexorable rise according to some pro-government commentators, opted for two parties that have implacably opposed the AKP.

And although the MHP failed to pass the symbolic 10 percent threshold overseas, it did squeak out a victory in Albania, edging a three-horse race over the HDP and the CHP.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

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