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Parliament of Turkey

Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi
Type Unicameral
Speaker of Parliament Cemil Çiçek
Since July 5, 2011
Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, AKP
Since March 14, 2003
July 27, 2007
Jun 12, 2011
Leader of the Main Opposition of Turkey Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, CHP
Since Jun 12, 2011
Seats 550
Political groups      AKP (326)
     CHP (135)
     MHP (51)
     BDP (29)
     Independents (7)
     Vacant (2)
Last election 12 June 2011
Meeting place
Interior view of the Turkish Parliament (TBMM) in Ankara
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The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM, Turkish: Template:Italics correction), usually referred to simply as the Meclis ("parliament"), 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 the World War I.


Turkey has had a history of Parliamentary government before the establishment of the current national Parliament:

Parliamentary practice before the Republican era

Ottoman Empire

Main articles: First Constitutional Era (Ottoman Empire) and Second Constitutional Era (Ottoman Empire)

Turkey had two Parliamentary governments during the Ottoman period. The First Constitutional Era lasted for only a brief period, 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 on 14 February 1878.

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.

Establishment of the National Parliament

After World War I, the victorious Allied Powers sought the dismemberment of the Ottoman state through the Treaty of Sèvres.[1] 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 would be gathered in Ankara that would possess extraordinary powers, how the members who would participate in the assembly would be elected and the need to realise elections at the latest within fifteen days". He also stated that the members of the dispersed Chamber of Deputies could also participate in the assembly in Ankara, to increase the representative power of the parliament. The Turkish Grand National Assembly, established on national sovereignty, held its inaugural session on 23 April 1920.

Republican era


The first trial of multi-party politics, at the republican era, was made in 1924 by the establishment of the Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası 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, 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 resumed by the founding of the National Development Party (Milli Kalkınma Partisi), by Nuri Demirağ, in 1945. The Democratic 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 upper house being the Senate.


Following the 12 September militar coup (1980–82) the Turkish parliament again became unicameral under the current constitution approved in a national referendum in 1982.

Parliamentary procedures

Prerogatives of the parliament

Relations with the government


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.[2] 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[3] and can be elected without needing a threshold.[4]

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.[5] 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

The current Speaker of the parliament is Cemil Çiçek from the AK Party, who was elected on 4 July 2011 for the first two years of the legislature. He is the 25th Speaker of the parliament of Turkey succeeding his party colleague Mehmet Ali Şahin.

Members (since 1999)

  • List of members of the parliament of Turkey, 1999–2002
  • List of members of the parliament of Turkey, 2002–2007
  • List of members of the parliament of Turkey, 2007–2011
  • List of members of the parliament of Turkey, 2011–present

Parliamentary groups

Parties who have at least 20 deputies may form a parliamentary group. Currently there are three parliamentary groups at the GNAT: The majority AKP, main opposition CHP, and the other opposition parties MHP and BDP.


Specialized committees

  1. Constitution committee (26 members)
  2. Justice committee (24 members)
  3. National Defense committee (24 members)
  4. Internal affairs committee (24 members)
  5. Foreign affairs committee (24 members)
  6. National Education, Culture, Youth and Sports committee (24 members)
  7. Development, reconstruction, transportation and tourism committee (24 members)
  8. Environment committee (24 members)
  9. Health, family, employment, social works committee (24 members)
  10. Agriculture, forestry, rural works committee (24 members)
  11. Industry, Commerce, Energy, Natural Resources, Information and Technology Committee (24 members)
  12. Committee for checking GNAT Accounts (15 members)
  13. Application committee (13 members)
  14. Planning and Budget committee (39 members)
  15. Public enterprises committee (35 members)
  16. Committee on inspection of Human rights (23 members)
  17. 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.

International Committees

  1. Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation of Security Co-operation in Europe (8 members)
  2. Parliamentary Assembly of NATO (12 members)
  3. The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (14 members)
  4. Western European Union Parliamentary Assembly for Security and Defense (12 members)
  5. Turkey – European Union Joint Parliamentary Committee (14 members)
  6. Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Conference (5 members)
  7. Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (9 members)
  8. Union of Asian Parliaments for Peace (3 members)
  9. Parliamentary Assembly of Europe and Mediterranean (6 members)
  10. 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.

Voting procedures

Current composition

Template:Turkish general election, 2011

The breakdown of seats in the previous legislature was as follows:

Parties Seats
Elected January 2013
Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) 327 326
Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) 135 135
Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP) 52 51
Peace and Democracy Party (Barış Ve Demokrasi Partisi, BDP) 29 29
Independents (Bağımsız) 6 7
Vacant (Boş) 0 2
Total 550 548

Parliament building

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. It is now used as the locale of the Museum of the War of Independence. The second building which housed the Parliament has also been converted to a Museum, the Museum of the Republic. The Grand National Assembly is now housed in a modern and imposing building in the Bakanlıklar neighborhood of Ankara.[6] The monumental building's project was designed by Clemens Holzmeister.

The building was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 50,000 lira banknotes of 1989-1999.[7]

See also



External links

  • pages in English
  • Photo of TBMM (High-Resolution)

Coordinates: 39°54′42″N 32°51′04″E / 39.91167°N 32.85111°E / 39.91167; 32.85111

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