Voting from abroad (VFA) is a complex norm and practice due to the multilevel processes, structures and actors involved. This article explores the reasons behind the eventual adoption of this practice within the context of a long and well-known history of emigration in Turkey. During the 2014 Turkish presidential election, emigrants from Turkey were finally allowed to participate from abroad even though legislation giving them this right has been in place since 1995. Based on archival research and fieldwork in Germany and the United States, this article discusses the varying relevance of three central explanatory factors to the implementation of VFA: emigrant lobbying, the electoral expectations of potential benefit by the governing party, and the presence of broader, state-led diaspora engagement policies. The first of these is important but insufficient, whereas the second factor is necessary. Moreover, the presence of broader, state-led diaspora engagement policies is a mediating factor. This article finds that specific actors like political parties may play the crucial role, highlighting the need for critical examination of their role in the implementation process.