Turkey Urged to Ensure Quake Survivors Can Vote in Elections

A woman walks with her suitcases in front of collapsed buildings after a powerful earthquake hit Kahramanmaras, Turkey, 22 March 2023. Photo: EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

"The fact that displaced people are still unable to vote where they are is nothing more than a deprivation of citizenship," TIHV said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to estimates, more than 2 million people have migrated to safer areas of the country since February 6 twin earthquakes registering 7.9 and 7.7 on the Richter scale devastated 11 provinces in southern and south-eastern regions.

Displaced survivors who now reside in other towns and cities have the right to register themselves at their current address to be eligible to vote.

However, Vice President Fuat Oktay on March 18 said only 345,000 displaced quake survivors had registered in other addresses so far.

"In this case, although the number of voters is unknown, if they want to use their right to vote, they will have to go to the electoral district in the earthquake zone, despite the severe traumatic process they are going through," TIHV said.

Turkey is approaching crucial general and presidential elections after the country's worst-ever natural disaster killed more than 50,000 people and left millions homeless.

The quake-hit area was home to some 15 million people. As 2 million people reportedly migrated to other zones, the rest still live in tent camps and prefabricated residences, facing hardship in accessing clean water, food, heating and hygienic conditions.

TIHV has advised the government to recognise all quake survivors as internally displaced people and allow them to vote wherever they live now.

"Facilitating methods and measures should be taken immediately to remove all kinds...

Continue reading on: