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Turks across Middle East cast ballots in expat vote

People arrive at Turkish Embassy to Beirut to cast their votes for Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 in Beirut, Lebanon on 16 June, 2018 [Jihad Muhammad Behlok/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish expatriates in several Middle Eastern countries cast ballots on Saturday in presidential and parliamentary polls that will be held in Turkey on June 24.

Irfan Neziroglu, Turkey’s ambassador to Sudan, told Anadolu Agency that voting had begun at 9.00 a.m. local time at the Turkish embassy in Khartoum.

“Turkish expatriates have two days to vote, during which time we expect some 900 people to cast ballots,” Neziroglu said.

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Turkey’s embassy in the Qatari capital Doha also opened its doors to voters at 9 a.m. local time, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents.

Predicting high voter turnout, Turkish Ambassador to Qatar Fekret Ozer told Anadolu Agency that the small Arab Gulf state was home to about 3,000 Turkish registered voters.

In Lebanese capital Beirut, meanwhile, hundreds of Turkish voters turned out to vote Saturday morning.

Bilal Fattah, a Turkish electoral official in Beirut, predicted that roughly 1,500 out of almost 5,000 Turkish registered voters would cast ballots.

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“This is the third time I have taken part in elections at the embassy,” Muhammed, a Turkish national who lives in Beirut, told Anadolu Agency.

“It’s my national duty; it will determine the fate of my country,” Muhammed, who declined to give his last name, said.

More than three million Turkish expatriates worldwide are expected to take part in the overseas vote at more than 100 polling stations — most of which are located in Turkish embassies and consulates — in 60 countries.

Six candidates are running in Turkey’s presidential race, while eight political parties are vying for 600 seats in parliament.

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