The Effects of Granting the Right of External Voting to the Diaspora Policies of AKP and CHP
Keywords:External Voting, Turkish Diaspora, Election Manifesto, AKP, CHP
By granting the Turkish diaspora the right to vote in general elections in 2014, Turkish political parties’ diaspora policies have gained crucial importance, especially considering that votes from abroad constitute five percent of the total votes. In this study, I will try to answer the question of how granting of the right to vote to citizens abroad affected the main Turkish political parties’ (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, Justice and Development Party– AKP and Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, Republican People’s Party - CHP) diaspora policies. First of all, I start by introducing the Turkish diaspora. Then, I review the history of the Turkish diaspora’s right to vote from abroad. Next, I analyze the parties’ election manifestos published before the general elections in 2011, 2015, and 2018. The reason for selecting these specific elections is to reveal the alteration of these two main parties’ diaspora policies since the 2011 elections were the last election before the granting to vote externally and 2015 and 2018 were the first two general elections afterward. Within the scope of this literature review and document analysis, the issue is analyzed using two perspectives within the framework of the concepts of external voting, election districts, foreign policy, diaspora institutions, culture and integration, political participation, and education. This study establishes that the provision of external voting rights had a substantial influence on the policies of Turkish political parties towards the diaspora, as evidenced by the significant increase in the number of election manifesto articles and the remarkably diverse promises.