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Olympia London hosts historic Turkish elections

Olympia London has hosted the first ever Turkish elections for expatriate Turkish citizens in the UK. Turkish voters living in the UK took part in the global elections for Turkish people abroad, which were held to determine Turkey's first directly-elected president. Voting took place at Olympia Central, over two days from Saturday 2 to Sunday 3 August ahead of elections in Turkey itself on 10 August.

This is the first year in which expatriates have voted outside of Turkey. It is also the first time the Turkish president will be elected by the people and not by the parliament, following a national referendum held in 2007.

Turkish citizens in the UK registered to vote online on the website of Turkey's Central Election Commission prior to casting votes in person across a total of 57 polling stations inside the venue.  

The Turkish Consulate had requested to use its own Firewall for extra security, which Olympia London’s IT service partners, eForce facilitated. They also provided robust wired internet connections at each polling station for laptops which the Turkish Consulate had had flown in from Turkey.

Voting in the UK took place alongside voting at dozens of countries for Turkish expatriates. Out of the 54 countries where Turkish people are resident in, votes were cast as far afield as Egypt, Uzbekistan, Poland, Sudan and New Zealand.

It is possible Olympia Central may host a second round of votes. To win the presidency, a candidate must get more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate reaches this mark in the first round, a run-off will be held in Turkey on 24 August.

There are more than 2.7 million Turks living abroad with the right to vote, at roughly 5% of the total electorate, according to reports from the BBC.

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