Voting method - Turkey

Voting method
Personal Voting at the borders

Law on Basic Provisions of Elections and Voter Registers (1961)

Article 10 – (Amendment: 17/5/1979 - 2234/1 article)  There is one Higher Election board in Ankara, one District Election Board in each district, and a ballot box committee for each ballot in precincts. (Added sentence: 13/3/2008-5749/1 article) In order to manage the electoral transactions for the citizens abroad, Overseas District Election Board has been constituted associated to Ankara District Election Board. When considered necessary, more than one Overseas District Election Boards may be constituted.

Voting methods of Overseas voters and general principles

Article 94/A – (Addition: 13/3/2008-5749/10 art.) (Changed first clause: 9/5/2012-6304/5 art.)

Supreme Election Council, by taking the opinion of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, determine separately or individually implementation of voting methods either using electronically or at ballots or customs considering the type of elections and conditions of country. In the works and transactions related with voting of voters registered in Overseas electoral roll, informatics infrastructure of Foreign Ministry may be used. Within the framework of methods and principles determined by Supreme Election board, Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes necessary measures for establishment and safety of informatics infrastructure.

In the MP general elections, on the combined ballot papers specially designed and including watermarks of Supreme Election Council, special signs of political parties, their abbreviations and their full names and empty circles with the diameter of 2 cm under the names of political parties exist.

Voters Overseas may vote in MP general elections, President elections and in referendums.

Voters Overseas may only vote for political parties attending to elections.

Propaganda is not allowed Overseas and in foreign representatives.


Supreme Electoral Board website: FAQ section, accessed 2 December 2021

"Is it possible to vote by letter or electronically?
The method of voting by letter was canceled by the decision of the Constitutional Court numbered 2008/113. Electronic voting method is not used."


On ballot voting of Overseas voters

Article 94/C – (Addition : 13/3/2008-5749/10 art.) (Changed first clause: 9/5/2012-6304/6 art.)

Voters registered to Overseas electoral roll, may use their votes until 17.00 of the seventh day prior to elections within the principles determined by Supreme Election Council in ballots located in foreign representatives and in other ballots located in other places beginning with forty five days prior to election day. Supreme Election board may shorten this period of time, by taking the opinion of Ministry of Foreign Affairs considering the number of voters in such foreign country. Hours of voting is between 08.00-17.00 according to local time. Supreme Election Council, by taking the opinion of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, decides in which Overseas representatives and places voters may use their votes in twenty four hours and in which less considering the conditions of such country and such decision is announced electronically. In case the number of voters is high in such country, each of the voters may vote on the determined day and ballot which are previously decided. (Changed second clause: 9/5/2012-6304/6 art.) Supreme Election Council, by taking the opinion of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, decides in which foreign representatives and places the ballots will be located and from which officials ballot box committees will be composed of. According to this determination, election of president and members of ballot box committee are undertaken by Overseas District Election Board. Ballot box committee is composed of one president, one public servant member and one members delivered by three political parties that have taken the three highest amount of votes in recent general election and reserve members are determined with same method. In case political parties do not deliver names, missing members are filled with public servants or voters. Election of president and members of board is primarily undertaken among public servants and voters of the area where the ballot will be located.

Voting of Overseas voters at custom stations

Article 94/E – (addition: 13/3/2008-5749/10 art.)

Voters registered in Overseas electoral roll, beginning with forty five days prior to elections, until 17.00 on election day, may vote at the ballots that will be located on custom gates (…).

Supreme Election board send specially manufactured ballot papers and envelopes in special colors to related district boards at latest three days prior to election.

At the custom gates which are determined by Supreme Election Council, voting can be exercised from 08.00 on forty fifth day prior to elections to 17.00 on election date. Supreme Election Council is authorized to determine at which gates voting can be exercised for 24 hours including holidays and at which gates in less hours.

Supreme Election Council previously determines numbers of temporary custom gate election board and ballot box committees that will work during election period, numbers of members and reserves and definitions of their missions.



See also:

Turkey: Voting from abroad in 2015 general elections

“Voting from abroad refers to “provisions and procedures which enable some or all electors of a country who are temporarily or permanently outside the country to exercise their voting rights from outside the territory of the country.”  In Turkey, voting for citizens registered as residing abroad was made possible for the first time in 1987 through an amendment of the Law on Elections and Electoral Registers (Law No. 298, 26/4/1961) but citizens could only vote at the polling stations set up at the borders. This did not satisfy the definition of voting from abroad as those residing abroad had to travel to Turkey to cast their votes. 

The Amendment (no. 4121) to Article 67 of the Constitution in 1995 aimed at opening room for new legislation enabling citizens residing abroad to exercise their right to vote from their country of residence. This amendment also gave the external voting right a constitutional basis. The 1995 Amendment (no. 4125) on the election law assigned the task of organising and managing elections abroad to the Supreme Election Board (YSK). Nevertheless, it also stated that if ‘factual or legal obstacles’ were encountered in organising elections abroad, the authorities could resort to setting up polling stations at the borders only. In the four general elections between 1995 and 2007, voting at the border remained the only method, justified with the presence of such legal and factual obstacles. Lawmakers in Turkey considered mail ballots as breaching the secrecy of the vote, whereas setting up polling stations in the emigrants’ countries of residence met objections raised by some of these countries (mainly Germany) which feared political protests and fights between rival political groups. 

The Law on Elections and Electoral Register was amended again in 2008 to enable citizens living abroad to vote in general elections, the election of the president and referenda in Turkey. There were four different methods of voting inscribed in the law: postal voting, voting at the borders, at Turkish representations abroad and electronically. The Constitutional Court of Turkey struck down postal voting as it could violate the secrecy of voting. Before the 2011 general elections, government officials made declarations about ongoing negotiations with Germany to enable voting at the diplomatic representations. However, the Supreme Election Board’s February 2011 decision (no.120) ruled out that possibility for the elections of 2011. The Board referred to the insufficiently prepared infrastructure and the resulting unequal treatment between Turkish citizens in Germany and those residing in other countries if external voting were to be made possible only in Germany. A final amendment (no.6304) to the electoral law from May 2012 regulated methods of external voting (taking out the postal voting option), created an overseas voters’ registry, and defined the tasks of the YSK and the diplomatic representations in the organisation and management of external elections. The first time citizens residing abroad were able to vote in their countries of residence was the August 2014 Presidential elections which took place on 10 August 2014. External voters could either vote at the borders between July 26 and August 10 or in the polling stations set up in their country of residence between 31 July and 3 August 2014.”