Long before announcing his intention to run for the presidency, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was wooing diaspora voters.
For the first time in this election, Tuirks living abroad have been able to vote. Previously, Turkish nationals had to return home to cast their ballots.
Erdogan visited Brussels in January to meet with Turkish expatriates. There are some 200,000 living in Belgium, and as many as three million in neighbouring Germany.
Euronews met some of them in Brussels. Play the video report to see what they think.
But Erdogan’s strategy to get out the expatriate vote will eventually have direct implications for those Turkish communities, as one expert explained.
“The political debate in Turkey is being exported towards the member states of the EU and the Turkish diaspora, those who hold a Turkish passport. With Turkish politicians coming to cities like Brussels in order to roll out their political agenda, these divisions will become deeper also in the diaspora in EU member states,” said Steven Blockmans, senior research fellow and head of the ‘EU foreign policy’ and ‘politics and institutions’ units at the Centre for European Policy Studies.
Erdogan is expected to try and increase the presidency’s powers if his Justice and Development party wins Turkey’s next general election, which is set for June next year.
Also in this report we hear from Amanda Paul of the European Policy Centre and M. Alperen Özdemir, who represents a Turkish business association which is close to Erdogan’s AK party.