The paper explores the understanding of external voting in the context of the 2014 Turkish presidential election in which migrants from Turkey were enabled to cast votes abroad. This first experience of external voting provided an opportunity for an inquiry into the motivations, expectations and concerns underlying emigrants’ electoral participation. Drawing from original fieldwork investigation in Germany, this exploratory study finds that citizens’ motivation for voting abroad was largely dictated by the symbolic dimension of citizenship, and desire to formally participate in Turkish politics. Also, evidences demonstrate that external voting led to growing concerns about public security as well as allegiance of immigrants in major hosting countries, particularly in Germany. Focusing on the case of Turkey’s external voting experience as a large sending country, this paper aims to provide a contribution to growing empirical research on the understanding of external voting and the effect of migrant electoral participation.