Turkish parliament finalizes discussions, approves new bylaws

Turkish parliament finalizes discussions, approves new bylaws

The Turkish parliament has finished discussions on new bylaws that aim to increase the efficiency of Parliament by speeding up the legislation process. The 18-article amendment jointly submitted to the Parliament Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) have recently been discussed and approved by the Constitutional Committee in the Turkish assembly and then sent to the General Assembly. Lawmakers from the AK Party and MHP approved the bylaws Thursday. The General Assembly and the Parliament will have a recess until September. The adjustment includes new regulations varying from parliamentary oaths to the group proposals. According to the adopted articles if a parliamentarian does not take the oath, he or she will not take advantage of parliamentary rights. In the event that a parliamentarian does not join the first convention, he must take the oath at the first convention he participates in.

Another regulation is about the proposal of political parties represented in Parliament. According to the amendment, if the consultative committee presents a unanimous opinion on a motion, the General Assembly will not spend any time discussing it further. In the event that the consultative committee can't decide unanimously on a motion, a deputy from the party that proposed the motion will explain its justification for a maximum of five minutes. A member from other groups will be allowed to talk for a maximum of three minutes on the motion.

The adjustments include new restrictions on party proposals brought to Parliament, stipulating that only the author of the proposal will be allowed to address the chamber on behalf of the group. In recent practice, the spokespersons of political parties were allowed to speak for 10 minutes. Now, under the proposed adjustments to bylaws, any chairperson who conducts a meeting in the chamber will be allowed to allocate 15 deputies one minute of speaking each. The proposed regulation, if passed, will be adopted as a code provision.

Parliament's convention time after elections is also one of the changes. Accordingly the General Assembly will convene three days later at 2 p.m. without a call after the Supreme Election Board's (YSK) proclamation of the election results. The assembly used to gather five days later following the proclamation of the election results. The new amendment also brings some changes regarding parliamentarians' outfit. The parliamentary speaker's obligation to wear coattails is abated by the regulation. The Parliament speaker and secretaries at the platform, will use dark tones in their outfits. The parliamentarians, ministers, administrative officers and officers have to use formal outfit, including neckties and trousers.

The Republican People's Party (CHP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) oppose the new bylaws. The CHP and the HDP argue that the AK Party wants to further bolster its influence in Parliament and oppress the opposition with the proposed changes to the bylaws. CHP lawmakers refused to leave Parliament early Thursday in protest of the bylaw changes. "The CHP group, as a protest to the silencing of the opposition, is not leaving Parliament tonight," CHP Deputy Chairman Özgür Özel said. Parliament's deputy speaker Ahmet Aydın criticized the CHP and demanded an end to the protest. "This is not the street. It is the Parliament of the nation … acts that do not comply with the severity of the Parliament should be abandoned," Aydın said. Commenting on the issue the ruling AK Party Group Deputy Chairman Bülent Turan described the CHP protest as "childish" and said that "the CHP continues to behave like a child who never grows up."