Turkish diaspora in Australia vote in referendum

An estimated 200,000 Turks live in Australia with most of them based in Melbourne's northern suburbs. Almost 45,000 have registered to vote in Turkey's upcoming referendum.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkish Australians have until April 9 to cast their votes for the upcoming referendum.

Turkish expatriates in Australia have begun casting ballots on Friday to decide whether Turkey's constitution should be changed from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.

There are an estimated 200,000 Turks in Australia – with most of them based in Melbourne's northern suburbs – and almost 45,000 have registered to vote. 

They will have until April 9 to cast their votes for the referendum.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan argues the proposed strengthening of the presidency in the April 16 referendum will avert instability associated with coalition governments, at a time when Turkey is facing terrorist threats.

Critics say it will concentrate too much power in the president's hands.

Some voters have been keenly watching the ongoing tussle between Turkey and the European countries which could determine turnout strength.

"Europe wants a dictatorship in Turkey, but they are the dictators. Turkey has democracy, that is why Erdogan wants success and a referendum. That's why everyone should vote," said Mehmet Cakir, a Turkish Australian.

TRT World'Soraya Lennie spent time in a Turkish community at Melbourne ahead of the vote.