Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi
Coat of arms or logo
Type Unicameral
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, AK PARTİ
since March 14, 2003
July 27, 2007
Jun 12,2011
Speaker Cemil Çiçek
since July 5 , 2011
Members TOTAL= 550
Political groups      AKP (327)
     CHP (135)
     MHP (52)
     BDP (29)
     Independents (6)
     KADEP (1)
Last election 12 June 2011
Meeting place
TBMM interior.jpg
Interior view of the Turkish Parliament (TBMM) in Ankara
Republic of Turkey

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The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM, Turkish: Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi), 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.

There are 550 members of parliament 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, only parties that win at least 10% of the votes cast in a national parliamentary election gain the right to representation in the parliament. As a result of this threshold, only two parties were able to obtain that right during the 2002 elections and three in 2007.[1] 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[2] and can be elected without needing a threshold.[3]

Since the 2002 general elections, an absolute majority of the seats belong to the members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), who lead a single-party government.[4] 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.



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

Parliamentary practice before the Republican era

Ottoman Empire

Opening of the Ottoman Parliament, 1876.

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.[5] 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.

President Atatürk and his colleagues leaving the building of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (today the Museum of the Republic) after a meeting for the seventh anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey (1930).

Passage to national constitution

Mustafa Kemal published his famous 19 March 1920 announcement. In this speech "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 undertake elections at the latest within fifteen days". He also added that the members of the dispersed Chamber of Deputies could also participate in the assembly in Ankara, to increase the representational power of the parliament. The Turkish Grand National Assembly, established on national sovereignty, held its first opening session 23 April 1920.

Republican era


Eighteen female MPs joined the Turkish Parliament with the 1935 general elections, at a time when women in a significant number of European countries had no voting rights. In 1993 Tansu Çiller became the first female Prime Minister of Turkey.

After the foundation of the Liberal Republican Party by Ali Fethi Okyar, religious groups joined the liberals and consequently, widespread bloody disorders took place, especially in the eastern territories. The liberal party was dissolved on 17 November 1930 and no further attempt at a multiparty democracy was made until 1945. Turkey was admitted to the League of Nations in July 1932.


The Multi-Party period in Turkey started by the establishment of National Development Party (Milli Kalkinma Partisi), founded by Nuri Demirağ, in 1945. Later on, the Democrat party was established the next year, and was elected in 1950.

General view of the Turkish Parliament. The chair of the Speaker is seen far back, facing the deputies. The Prime Minister and the ministers have their seats on the right side of the picture, close to the Speaker.

Under the constitution of 1961, the Grand National Assembly was a bicameral parliament with over 600 members, the upper house being the Senate. The parliament again became unicameral under the current constitution which was ratified in 1982.


Parliamentary procedures

Prerogatives of the parliament

Relations with the government

Speaker of the parliament

The chair of the Speaker of Parliament

Current Speaker of the parliament is Mehmet Ali Şahin from the AK Party, who was elected on 5 August 2009 in third round. He is the 24th Speaker of the parliament of Turkey succeeding his party colleague Köksal Toptan.

Parliamentary groups


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

e • d Summary of the 12 June 2011 Turkish Grand National Assembly election results
Party Results
Abb. Name Leader Votes  % pp swing MPs MP swing
AK Parti Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 21,399,082 49.83 increase3.25 327 decrease14
CHP Republican People's Party Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu 11,155,972 25.98 increase5.10 135 increase23
MHP Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bahçeli 5,585,513 13.01 decrease1.30 53 decrease18
Independent* 2,819,917 6.57 increase1.33 35 increase8
SP Felicity Party Mustafa Kamalak 543,454 1.27 decrease1.07 0 steady0
HAS Parti People's Voice Party Numan Kurtulmuş 329,723 0.77 0
BBP Great Union Party Yalçın Topçu 323,251 0.75 0
DP Democratic Party Namık Kemal Zeybek 279,480 0.65 decrease4.77 0 steady0
HEPAR Rights and Equality Party Osman Pamukoğlu 124,415 0.29 0
DSP Democratic Left Party Masum Türker 108,089 0.25 0
DYP True Path Party Çetin Özaçıkgöz 64,607 0.15 0
TKP Communist Party of Turkey Erkan Baş 64,006 0.15 decrease0.08 0 steady0
MP Nation Party Aykut Edibali 60,716 0.14 0
MMP Nationalist and Conservative Party Ahmet Reyiz Yılmaz 36,188 0.08 0
EMEP Labour Party Selma Gürkan 32,128 0.07 decrease0.00 0 steady0
LDP Liberal Democratic Party Cem Toker 15,222 0.04 decrease0.06 0 steady0
Total 42,941,763 100.0 0 550 0
Invalid / Blank 973,185 1.84
Turnout 43,914,948 83.16
Source: "Election Results of June 12, 2011". Supreme Electoral Board. 12 June 2011. 
*The BDP nominated 61 candidates as independents of which 35 members were elected.

This party has not participated in Turkish general election, 2007.

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

Parties Seats
Elected June 2011
Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) 341 336
Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) 99 103
Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP) 71 69
Peace and Democracy Party (Barış Ve Demokrasi Partisi, BDP) 0 20
Democratic Left Party (Demokratik Sol Parti, DSP) 13 6
Great Union Party (Büyük Birlik Partisi, BBP) 1 0
Democratic Society Party (Demokratik Toplum Partisi, DTP) 20 0
Democratic Party (Turkey, current) (Demokrat Parti, DP) 0 1
Turkey Party (Türkiye Partisi) 0 1
Freedom and Solidarity Party (Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi, ÖDP) 1 0
Independents (Bağımsız) 3 9
Vacant (Boş) 0 8
Total 550 550

Parliament building

Aerial view of the current Turkish Parliament building, designed in 1938 by the renowned Austrian architect Clemens Holzmeister.

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.[7]

The building was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 50,000 lira banknotes of 1989-1999.[8]

Reverse of the 50000 lira banknote (1994)

See also


  1. ^ Roger Hardy (2002-11-04). "Turkey leaps into the unknown". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  2. ^ Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information (2004-08-24). "Political Structure of Turkey". Turkish Prime Minister's Office. Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  3. ^ e.g. Istanbul in 2011 has a successful candidate at 3.2%
  4. ^ "Turkey's old guard routed in elections". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2002-11-04. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  5. ^ Kinross, Patrick (1977). The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. Morrow. ISBN 0-6880-3093-9. 
  6. ^ "New Parliament sees first resignation". Today's Zaman. August 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  7. ^ Yale, Pat; Virginia Maxwell, Miriam Raphael, Jean-Bernard Carillet (2005). Turkey. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-7405-9683-8. 
  8. ^ Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey. Banknote Museum: 7. Emission Group - Fifty Thousand Turkish Lira - I. Series & II. Series. – Retrieved on 20 April 2009.


  • Kinross, Patrick (1977). The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. Morrow. ISBN 0-6880-3093-9. 
  • Jay Shaw, Stanford; Kural Shaw, Ezel (1977). History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-5212-9163-1. 

External links

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

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