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Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi
Coat of arms or logo.
Type Unicameral
Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin
since August 5, 2009
Members 550
Political groups Justice and Development Party
Republican People's Party
Nationalist Movement Party
Democratic Society Party
Last election 22 July 2007
Meeting place
TBMM interior.jpg
Grand National Assembly Building, Ankara, Turkey

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The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi - TBMM, usually referred to simply as Meclis - "the Parliament") is the unicameral parliament of Turkey which 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 to found a new state out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the World War I.

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

There are 550 members of parliament who are elected for a five-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] Independent candidates may run. However they must also win at least 10% of the vote in their constituency to be elected.[2] This rather high threshold has been internationally criticised, but a complaint with the European Court for Human Rights was turned down.

Since the 2002 general elections, an absolute majority of the seats belong to the members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), who lead a single-party government.[3] The Republican People's Party (CHP) was the only party that succeeded in being represented in Parliament, along with the AKP, in 2002. As of 1 January 2007, there were 7 parties who had representation in the parliament and nine independents because of resignations and transfer, nevertheless CHP still remained by far the biggest opposition party. At the 2007 election, three parties managed to clear the 10% threshold — AKP, 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.[4] 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.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in front of the Turkish Parliament on the seventh anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic (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

1923 – 1945

Eighteen female MPs joined the Turkish Parliament with the 1935 general elections, at a time when women in a significant number of other 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.

1945 – 1980

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 AKP, 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 22 July 2007 Grand National Assembly of Turkey election results
Parties Votes Seats
No. ± No. ±
Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) 16,340,534 46.66 +12.38 341 –23
Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP) 7,300,234 20.85 +1.46 112 –66
Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP) 5,004,003 14.29 +5.93 71 +71
Democratic Party (Demokrat Parti, DP) 1,895,807 5.41 –4.13 0 ±0
Independents (Bağımsız) 1,822,253 5.20 +4.20 26 +18
Youth Party (Genç Parti, GP) 1,062,352 3.03 –4.22 0 ±0
Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi, SP) 817,843 2.34 –0.15 0 ±0
Independent Turkey Party (Bağımsız Türkiye Partisi, BTP) 178,694 0.51 +0.03 0 ±0
People's Ascent Party (Halkın Yükselişi Partisi, HYP) 175,544 0.50 +0.50 0 ±0
Workers' Party (İşçi Partisi, İP) 127,220 0.36 –0.15 0 ±0
Enlightened Turkey Party (Aydınlık Türkiye Partisi, ATP) 99,938 0.29 +0.29 0 ±0
Communist Party of Turkey (Türkiye Komünist Partisi, TKP) 77,657 0.22 +0.03 0 ±0
Freedom and Solidarity Party (Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi, ÖDP) 51,945 0.15 –0.19 0 ±0
Liberal Democratic Party (Liberal Demokrat Parti, LDP) 36,717 0.10 –0.18 0 ±0
Labour Party (Emek Partisi, EMEP) 26,574 0.08 +0.08 0 ±0
Total (turnout 84.4%) 35,017,315 100.0 550
Source: Seçim 2007

The independents' seats are divided as follows:[1]

13 members of the Democratic Left Party were elected under the Republican People's Party banner. [2]

As of 2004, there were 50 registered political parties in Turkey, whose ideologies range from the far-left to the far-right.[2] However, only four of them are currently represented in the parliament.

Parties Seats
Elected Current
Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) 341 338
Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) 99 97
Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi, MHP) 71 69
Democratic Society Party (Demokratik Toplum Partisi, DTP) 21 21
Democratic Left Party (Demokratik Sol Parti, DSP) 13 13
Great Union Party (Büyük Birlik Partisi, BBP) 1 0
Freedom and Solidarity Party (Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi, ÖDP) 1 1
Independents (Bağımsız) 3 5
Vacant (Boş) 0 6
Total 550 544

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

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. ^ a b Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information (2004-08-24). "Political Structure of Turkey". Turkish Prime Minister's Office. Retrieved 2006-12-14.  
  3. ^ "Turkey's old guard routed in elections". British Broadcasting Corporation. 2002-11-04. Retrieved 2006-12-14.  
  4. ^ Kinross, Patrick (1977). The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. Morrow. ISBN 0-6880-3093-9.  
  5. ^ "New Parliament sees first resignation". Today's Zaman. August 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-11.  
  6. ^ Yale, Pat; Virginia Maxwell, Miriam Raphael, Jean-Bernard Carillet (2005). Turkey. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-7405-9683-8.  
  7. ^ 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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