A significant number of Syrians who have been granted Turkish citizenship participated in the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, marking their first experience with free elections. Many of them took to social media to express their happiness in exercising their democratic right to vote in a free and fair manner, with dozens even sharing photos of their ballots.
The positive reactions from Syrian voters were reflective of their general dissatisfaction with the one-party policy and the fake elections that had taken place in Syria for decades during the Assad family’s rule, under which success rates reached 99%.
Although the number of Syrian votes cast in the Turkish elections is not expected to have a major impact due to the high number of naturalized individuals, the general trend was for the majority of naturalized Syrians to actively participate in the elections and exercise their right to vote in a free and democratic manner.
While some speculate that the issue of Syrian refugees is being used as a tool by opposition parties to undermine Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity and secure votes, Turkish political analyst Taha Odeh ruled out the possibility of Syrian voters making a significant impact on the election outcome in an interview with the Asharq website.
According to Turkish researcher and political analyst Islam Ozkan, the number of naturalized Syrians living in various parts of Turkey, estimated at 221,000 people according to official data, is unlikely to have a significant impact on the outcome of the Turkish elections. Ozkan also expressed his belief that the issue of Syrian refugees will not play a major role in the presidential and parliamentary elections and that the public’s perception that refugees are the cause of the economic crisis is not based on reality.
The candidates running against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the upcoming elections are competing on promises related to the Syrian asylum issue. Some of them advocate for repairing relations with the Assad regime and repatriating refugees if they are elected.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.