As campaigning wound up for Turkey’s referendum on Saturday, thousands of the country’s citizens were preparing to to travel great distances to cast their votes.
Exactly how many will be travelling to cast their votes is not known, but at least one airline is reporting an increase in air ticket sales.
Onur Air's communications director Rauf Gerz said: “We are expecting heavy booking in almost all domestic flights, and some flights are expected to be fully booked. We observed that there is almost double the number of bookings than the previous election. For the referendum we are going to allow our passengers to change their bookings without any penalty.”
Many voters who have moved, but failed to update their voting registration information are expected to travel to the areas where they are registered to vote.
The referendum, which will see Turkish voters decide whether they want to amend their constitution, has been one of the most hotly contested political events in the country in recent times.
Strong political convictions among many have seen many people being prepared to sacrifice their weekend to travel long distances to cast their vote at the voting station where they are registered.
Emre Alioglu, a 26-year old engineer, said he believes it is his duty to vote, no matter how far he needs to travel. He will be traveling to Balikesir.
“We will go with my friends car, It is going to be a tiring journey, but this is a crucial vote for the country’s future, and I would like to exercise my duty. It will take around 6 hours to reach there. After I cast my vote, I will have to go back to Istanbul because I have to head back to work on Monday.”
Busra Cakir, a 27-year old make-up artist based in Istanbul, will travel to her hometown of Sakarya to vote.
“Traveling 3 hours to vote is nothing comparing my desire to live under an environment I would like to live in. And this referendum is crucial for that. With the excuse of the referendum, I will also visit my parents. I don’t get to visit them so often due to my job.”
More than 50 million people are expected to vote in the referendum on Sunday.