|Speaker İsmail Kahraman, AKP|
|Deputy Speakers Ahmet Aydın (AKP)
Ayşe Nur Bahçekapılı (AKP)
Akif Hamzaçebi (CHP)
Pervin Buldan (HDP)
since November 1, 2015|
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (AKP) since May 24, 2016
Leader of the Opposition Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (CHP) since May 22, 2010
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi), usually referred to simply as the TBMM or Parliament (Turkish: Meclis or Parlamento), is the unicameral Turkish legislature. It is the sole body given the legislative prerogatives by the Turkish Constitution. It was founded in Ankara on 23 April 1920 in the midst of the Turkish War of Independence. The parliament was fundamental in the efforts of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues to found a new state out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I.
- Ottoman Empire
- Establishment of the national Parliament
- Transition to Ankara
- Speaker of the parliament
- Members (since 1999)
- Parliamentary groups
- Specialized committees
- Parliamentary Research Committees
- Parliamentary investigation committees
- International committees
- Current composition
- Changes since November 2015
- Parliament building
Turkey has had a history of parliamentary government before the establishment of the current national parliament. These include attempts at curbing absolute monarchy during the Ottoman Empire through constitutional monarchy, as well as establishments of caretaker national assemblies immediately prior to the declaration of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 but after the de facto dissolution of the Ottoman Empire earlier in the decade.
There were two parliamentary governments during the Ottoman period in what is now Turkey. The First Constitutional Era lasted for only two years, elections being held only twice. After the first elections, there were a number of criticisms of the government due to the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878 by the representatives, and the assembly was dissolved and an election called on 28 June 1877. The second assembly was also dissolved by the sultan Abdülhamid II on 14 February 1878, the result being the return of absolute monarchy with Abdülhamid in power and the suspension of the Ottoman constitution of 1876, which had come with the democratic reforms resulting in the first constitutional era.
The Second Constitutional Era is considered to have begun on 23 July 1908. The constitution that was written for the first parliament included control of the sultan on the public and was removed during 1909, 1912, 1914 and 1916, in a session known as the "declaration of freedom". Most of the modern parliamentary rights that were not granted in the first constitution were granted, such as the abolition of the right of the Sultan to deport citizens that were claimed to have committed harmful activities, the establishment of a free press, a ban on censorship. Freedom to hold meetings and establish political parties was recognized, and the government was held responsible to the assembly, not to the sultan.
During the two constitutional eras of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman parliament was called the General Assembly of the Ottoman Empire and was bicameral. The upper house was the Senate of the Ottoman Empire, the members of which were selected by the sultan. The role of the Grand Vizier, the centuries-old top ministerial office in the empire, transformed in line with other European states into one identical to the office of a Prime Minister, as well as that of the speaker of the Senate. The lower chamber of the General Assembly was the Chamber of Deputies of the Ottoman Empire, the members of which were elected by the general public.
Establishment of the national Parliament
After World War I, the victorious Allied Powers sought the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire through the Treaty of Sèvres. The political existence of the Turkish nation was to be completely eliminated under these plans, except for a small region. Nationalist Turkish sentiment rose in the Anatolian peninsula, engendering the establishment of the Turkish national movement. The political developments during this period have made a lasting impact which continues to affect the character of the Turkish nation. During the Turkish War of Independence, Mustafa Kemal put forth the notion that there would be only one way for the liberation of the Turkish people in the aftermath of World War I, namely, through the creation of an independent, sovereign Turkish state. The Sultanate was abolished by the newly founded parliament in 1922, paving the way for the formal proclamation of the republic that was to come on 29 October 1923.
Transition to Ankara
Mustafa Kemal, in a speech he made on 19 March 1920 announced that "an Assembly will be gathered in Ankara that will possess extraordinary powers" and communicated how the members who would participate in the assembly would be elected and the need to realise elections, at the latest, within 15 days. He also stated that the members of the dispersed Ottoman Chamber of Deputies could also participate in the assembly in Ankara, to increase the representative power of the parliament. These elections were held as planned, in the style of the elections of the preceding Chamber of Deputies, in order to select the first members of the new Turkish assembly. This Grand National Assembly, established on national sovereignty, held its inaugural session on 23 April 1920. From this date until the end of the Turkish War of Independence in 1923, the provisional government of Turkey was known as the Government of the Grand National Assembly.
The first trial of multi-party politics, during the republican era, was made in 1924 by the establishment of the Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası at the request of Mustafa Kemal, which was closed after several months. Following a 6-year one-party rule, after the foundation of the Serbest Fırka (Liberal Party) by Ali Fethi Okyar, again at the request of Mustafa Kemal, in 1930, some violent disorders took place, especially in the eastern parts of the country. The Liberal Party was dissolved on 17 November 1930 and no further attempt at a multiparty democracy was made until 1945.
The multi-party period in Turkey was resumed by the founding of the National Development Party (Milli Kalkınma Partisi), by Nuri Demirağ, in 1945. The Democrat Party was established the following year, and won the general elections of 1950; one of its leaders, Celal Bayar, becoming President of the Republic and another, Adnan Menderes, Prime Minister.
Under the constitution of 1961, the Grand National Assembly was a bicameral parliament with over 600 members, the newly established upper house being the Senate of the Republic.
Following the 1980 military coup, the Senate was dissolved and the Turkish parliament again became unicameral under the current constitution approved in a national referendum in 1982.
There are 550 members of parliament (deputies) who are elected for a four-year term by the D'Hondt method, a party-list proportional representation system, from 85 electoral districts which represent the 81 administrative provinces of Turkey (Istanbul is divided into three electoral districts whereas Ankara and İzmir are divided into two each because of their large populations). To avoid a hung parliament and its excessive political fragmentation, a party must win at least 10% of the national vote to qualify for representation in the parliament. As a result of this threshold, only two parties won seats in the legislature after the 2002 elections and three in 2007. The 2002 elections saw every party represented in the previous parliament ejected from the chamber. This rather high threshold has been internationally criticised, but a complaint with the European Court for Human Rights was turned down.
Independent candidates may also run and can be elected without needing a threshold.
Since the 2002 general elections, an absolute majority of the seats have been held by members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which leads a single-party government. In 2002, the Republican People's Party (CHP) was the only other party that succeeded in being represented in Parliament. At the 2007 general elections, three parties managed to clear the 10% threshold — AK Party, CHP, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Furthermore, Kurdish politicians from the Democratic Society Party (DTP) circumvented the threshold by contesting the election as independents; 24 of them were elected, enabling them to constitute their own faction in the Assembly.
Speaker of the parliament
A new term in the parliament began on June 23, 2015, after the June 2015 General Elections. Deniz Baykal from the CHP temporarily served as the speaker, being the oldest member, until the election of İsmail Kahraman on 22 November 2015.
Members (since 1999)
Parties who have at least 20 deputies may form a parliamentary group. Currently there are four parliamentary groups at the GNAT: AKP, which has the highest number of seats, CHP, MHP and HDP.
- Constitution committee (26 members)
- Justice committee (24 members)
- National Defense committee (24 members)
- Internal affairs committee (24 members)
- Foreign affairs committee (24 members)
- National Education, Culture, Youth and Sports committee (24 members)
- Development, reconstruction, transportation and tourism committee (24 members)
- Environment committee (24 members)
- Health, family, employment, social works committee (24 members)
- Agriculture, forestry, rural works committee (24 members)
- Industry, Commerce, Energy, Natural Resources, Information and Technology Committee (24 members)
- Committee for checking GNAT Accounts (15 members)
- Application committee (13 members)
- Planning and Budget committee (39 members)
- Public enterprises committee (35 members)
- Committee on inspection of Human rights (23 members)
- European Union Harmonization Committee (21 members) (not available in Parliamentary Procedures)
Parliamentary Research Committees
These committees are one of auditing tools of the Parliament. The research can begin upon the demand of the Government, political party groups or min 20 MPs. The duty is assigned to a committee whose number of members, duration of work and location of work is determined by the proposal of the Parliamentary Speaker and the approval of the General Assembly.
Parliamentary investigation committees
These committees are established if any investigation demand re the PM and ministers occur and approved by the General Assembly through hidden voting.
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation of Security Co-operation in Europe (8 members)
- Parliamentary Assembly of NATO (12 members)
- The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (14 members)
- Western European Union Parliamentary Assembly for Security and Defense (12 members)
- Turkey – European Union Joint Parliamentary Committee (14 members)
- Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Conference (5 members)
- Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (9 members)
- Union of Asian Parliaments for Peace (3 members)
- Parliamentary Assembly of Europe and Mediterranean (6 members)
- Inter-parliamentary Union
An MP can attend more than one committee if s/he is not a member of Application Committee or Planning and Budgeting Committee. Members of those committees can not participate in any other committees. On the other hand, s/he does not have to work for a committee either. Number of members of each committee is determined by the proposal of the Advisory Council and the approval of the General Assembly.
Sub committees are established according to the issue that the committee receives. Only Public Enterprises (PEs) Committee has constant sub committees that are specifically responsible for a group of PEs.
Committee meetings are open to the MPs, the Ministers’ Board members and the Government representatives. The MPs and the Ministers’ Board members can talk in the committees but can not make amendments proposals or vote. Every MP can read the reports of the committees. NGOs can attend the committee meetings upon the invitation of the committee therefore volunteer individual or public participation is not available. Media, but not the visual media, can attend the meetings. The media representatives are usually the parliamentary staff of the media institutions. The committees can prevent the attendance of the media with a joint decision.
The 26th Parliament of Turkey took office on 17 November 2015, following the ratification of the results of the general election held on 1 November 2015. The composition of the 26th Parliament, due to be dissolved in November 2019, is shown below.
Changes since November 2015
Since 17 November, 5 Members of Parliament have been suspended from their respective political parties and therefore sit as Independents. A sixth, former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ had her parliamentary and party membership revoked by the courts, rendering her seat vacant.
The current Parliament Buildings is the third to house the nation's parliament. The building which first housed the Parliament was converted from the Ankara headquarters of the Committee of Union and Progress, the political party that overthrew Sultan Abdulhamid II in 1909 in an effort to bring democracy to the Ottoman Empire. Designed by architect Hasip Bey, it was used until 1924 and is now used as the locale of the Museum of the War of Independence, the second building which housed the Parliament was designed by architect Vedat (Tek) Bey (1873–1942) and used from 1924 to 1960. It is now been converted as the Museum of the Republic.
The Grand National Assembly is now housed in a modern and imposing building in the Bakanlıklar neighborhood of Ankara. The monumental building's project was designed by architect and professor Clemens Holzmeister (1886–1993). The building was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 50,000 lira banknotes of 1989–1999. The building was hit by airstrikes three times during the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, suffering noticeable damage. Later, the Parliament went through a revision in the summer of 2016.