Caner Soydal, left, and Aydin Ozkaynok, Turkish citizens living in Abu Dhabi, were able to vote in their country’s upcoming presidential election at the Turkish embassy in Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson / The National
Caner Soydal, left, and Aydin Ozkaynok, Turkish citizens living in Abu Dhabi, were able to vote in their country’s upcoming presidential election at the Turkish embassy in Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson /

Turks living in the UAE vote in presidential elections

Hundreds of Turkish expatriates visited polling stations in the capital and Dubai on Saturday to take part in their country’s first presidential election.

“This is the first time that the Turkish citizens living abroad will be able to vote in presidential elections,” said S Vural Altay, Turkish ambassador to the UAE.

“It’s a new start for our democracy and for Turkey.”

Mr Altay was the first person to cast a ballot at the embassy when the polls opened at 8am, giving Turkish citizens a chance to directly elect their president for the first time. He said that “it was a nice coincidence that those abroad could vote for the first time as well”.

The UAE is home to about 10,000 Turkish nationals, of whom about 3,400 had registered to vote at the embassy and the consulate by the July 9 deadline.

The participation rate of Turkish voters in the UAE was “average”, said an embassy official, who estimated attendance at the polls to be fewer than 1,000 citizens.

Turkish expats are also eligible to vote at customs checkpoints and airports in their homeland until election day, August 10.

Voters entering the embassy said they were thankful to be able to participate.

Oznur Altincaba, 30, said she had felt disenfranchised in the past.

“Usually we are just watching from outside and we are not able to vote ,” said Mrs Altincaba, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for almost five years.

“This is another very, very critical election for us, so this is a very big opportunity. We live in another country, but our hearts and our minds are still based in Turkey. That’s why it’s very important for us.”

“Now, finally we can vote,” said Ozan Cificiler, 33, of Abu Dhabi. “It was very good, actually. There were no long queues since there are not so many Turkish people here. It’s easier than Turkey here.”

Voting took about five minutes after individuals presented their IDs and were issued a paper ballot showing a photo of each of the three candidates, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Selahattin Demirta.

The voters were instructed to use a stamp to select their candidate, place the ballot in a sealed envelope and drop it off in a clear plastic box monitored by embassy officials.

“As a citizen it’s my responsibility to participate in elections, otherwise I will not be able to participate in any discussions.

“That’s why if I am happy or not happy with the situation in Turkey, it depends on me. If I vote that means I put my finger, I put my thoughts on the current political situation,” said Senol Kircaali, 33, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for two years.

Sema Senyil, a finance manager in Dubai, said it was a proud moment for Turks living in the UAE.

“Being able to vote in the presidential elections is very important for us because we feel we have a say on what happens back home,” she said.

Turkish voters in UAE were joined by others around the world. In Germany – home to the largest Turkish expat population, including 1.4 million eligible voters – voters began going to the polls on Thursday.

“I will vote for (Erdogan) because Turkey has economically developed enormously under his rule,” said a young Turkish woman in a headscarf who identified herself only as Feride, accompanied by her two children.

Critics have accused Mr Erdogan and his Islamic-rooted party of intolerance for the demands of secular metropolitan Turks – tensions that boiled up during deadly protests last year in Turkey.

To his loyal followers - who are numerous in Germany’s large Turkish community – Mr Erdogan has transformed Turkey’s infrastructure and projected power on the international stage.

“I think Erdogan will get more votes here [proportionally] than in Turkey,” Yunus Ulusoy, a researcher at the Foundation for Turkish Studies and Research on Integration, said.

Turkish immigrants in Europe “have always suffered from the fact that their country was seen as the sick man of the Bosphorus,” he said. “However, Erdogan made them feel they had value.”

Turkish Community in Germany chairman Gokay Sofuoglu agreed that many expatriate Turks supported Erdogan.

“When they go on holiday in Turkey, they see that the country is more modern, with airports, roads, shopping centres. The health system has undergone major reforms,” he said.

* With additional reporting by AFP

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Getting there
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Tbilisi from Dh1,025 return including taxes


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)


Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

Milestones on the road to union


October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.


March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The biog:

From: Wimbledon, London, UK

Education: Medical doctor

Hobbies: Travelling, meeting new people and cultures 

Favourite animals: All of them 


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5


Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded


Started: April 2017

Founders: Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: transport

Size: 450+ employees

Investment: approximately $80 million

Investors include: Dubai’s Beco Capital, US’s Endeavor Catalyst, China’s MSA, Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, Sweden’s Vostok New Ventures, Property Finder CEO Michael Lahyani


• Looming global slowdown and recession in key economies

• Russia-Ukraine war

• Interest rate hikes and the rising cost of debt servicing

• Oil price volatility

• Persisting inflationary pressures

• Exchange rate fluctuations

• Shortage of labour/skills

• A resurgence of Covid?

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Uefa Champions League semi-final:

First leg: Liverpool 5 Roma 2

Second leg: Wednesday, May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

TV: BeIN Sports, 10.45pm (UAE)

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