Official figures show Turkish-Australians voted ‘no’

The result was polarising, and Turkish-Australian communities were split across both sides of the argument.


Firdevs Vatin is happy with the result.

“I think it’s going to be good that the country recognises it’s an Islamic country. This was a people’s vote. This is what the people voted. Everyone should accept that and respect it.”

But Ms Vatin’s close friend, Sahide Baskonyali, disagrees.

She says she is afraid of the extra authority President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now gained.

“I don’t believe in giving one person so much power. I think it’s wrong. Look I’m a Muslim, I’m proud to be a Muslim, but I don’t believe politics should be mixed with religion. I’m scared.”

Dual citizen Mehmet Ali says he cannot reconcile himself with the political situation.

He has lived in Australia for almost 30 years, and was planning to retire in Turkey.

But he says the result has made him re-evaluate.

“Unacceptable, unfair, and I have changed my plan to return to Turkey to live there because I believe it’s no longer a democratic country. I don’t think I’ll be returning to Turkey. I can’t. and I will not invest in Turkey, instead I will invest into Australia.”

But others say they are certain Turkey has secured a stronger and safer future.

“Erdogan has been a hard worker, and he’s a good worker.”

“Let’s see what’s going to happen next, but I believe everything will be good – better than now.”

More than 14,000 members of the Turkish-Australian community voted.

Figures from the Turkish National Electoral authority show the majority said ‘no’.

The vote was closest in Melbourne but there was a clear consensus of ‘no’ in both Sydney and Canberra.

Cigdem Ayikol supports Turkey’s main opposition, the CHP, and voted ‘no’.

She claims many of the ‘no’ votes were ignored, despite the presence of EU monitors.

“I was very disappointed, not because of the result – the way that it was counted. The results on TV and the results on the main board were completely different. We just believe that it was false information. It was just taken onside however they wanted it to be.”

But Turkish national Ali Sisman says it was the most open vote he has ever witnessed.

“I don’t think it’s too much power. First of all, the President will be indictable. Whatever they do, they will be able to be tried and they will be responsible. And that possibility brings a lot of power to our nation as well.”

While the opinion of Turkish Australians might be split on the result, Ms Ayikol and Mr Sisman say the communities will remain united.