Foreigner votes in Didim .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} DİDİM - Foreigners in Didim will finally have their say in the forthcoming Chamber of Commerce elections.

For the first time in the history of Didim district in the western city of Aydın, foreign businessmen will be eligible to vote in the commerce’s elections on Feb. 22.

There are 120 companies that have at least one foreign partner in Didim, 55 of which are registered to vote as the company representative. Murat Yayla, a real estate dealer, understood the situation and its potential and wanted it to use in favor of a chairman hopeful, who he supported.

"Foreigners bought houses here, started businesses, rejuvenated economy and made a huge contribution to Didim’s process to become an important town," said Yayla. "Now they want to have their say in a subject that directly involves their lives."

Foreigners hailed the decision, too.

"That is great news," said Kym Çiftçi, the founder of the Expatriate Women Community. "It is very important for the foreigners to be involved in the elections."

She said that this was an important step in the collaboration between Turks and expatriates in the country.

"We always want to express our views and critiques about Didim, as long as we are given the right to," said Çiftçi. "Turks and expatriates have a lot to learn from each other. Everybody will benefit from collaborations."

The chairman hopefuls of the Didim Chamber of Commerce are satisfied with the change as well.

"If foreigners are building commerce here, of course they have the right to vote, the other way would be wrong," said civil engineer Ömer Vela, suggesting to take the current situation to one-step further. "I think they should have the right to enter the elections as well. I don’t think Didim locals will oppose that idea."

The other candidate, Sabahattin Akkuş agreed with Vela.

"In 2004, foreigners were eligible to vote in the Alanya Chamber of Commerce elections, but it will be a first time in Didim," said Akkuş. "Anyone who is in commerce should have their say in the elections."