Deliberations in the Committees
1. Main Committee and Secondary Committee
The committees that examine bills are classified into two groups as “main committees” and “secondary committees.” The committee whose report and bill is considered in Plenary is designated as the main committee, and the committee that provides an opinion to the main committee is designated as the secondary committee. Bills can be referred to more than one secondary committee, but only one committee may be designated as the main committee according to the bill’s content.
The main committee has to debate the whole bill. The secondary committee provides an opinion on the aspects or articles of the bill that are relevant to the committee if specific aspects or articles to be debated are not stated during the referral.
2. Referral of Bills to the Committees
The Office of the Speaker determines the committees that will examine the bill and designates the main and secondary committees. Bills are referred to the main and secondary committees at the same time. The bills are referred to the relevant committees in accordance with the competences of the committees, laws and practices by considering the subject, purpose and scope of the bills. The secondary committee has to conclude an examination of the subject within 10 days. This period can be shortened or expanded for a maximum of 10 days by the Office of the Speaker at the request of the committee.
The main committee concludes its report even if the secondary committee fails to provide an opinion within the required period.
3. Committee Meetings and Agenda
The committees are summoned by the chairperson of the committee on his or her own initiative or at the request of one-third of the committee members in order to debate the subjects referred to them by the Office of the Speaker. In cases when the chairperson calls for a meeting, he or she also specifies the agenda of the meeting with this call. The committee has the final say on its own agenda. The committee decides about the items to be included in the agenda on the proposals of the committee members.
The meeting call and the agenda are sent to the committee members, the Prime Ministry, relevant ministries, political party groups, the offices of related committees and to the first signatory deputy whose proposal is placed on the agenda. The meeting call and agenda are also announced on the electronic notice board and on the website of the Assembly.
The committees shall debate the subjects referred to them in a specific period. If there is no necessity, the committees are called for the meeting at least two days in advance.
The committees start the debate on the subjects only 48 hours after the date of their referral. The documents referred to the committees shall be printed and distributed to the committee members by the chairperson on his or her initiative or at the request of five committee members. In this case, the mentioned period starts after the distribution of the documents. In cases when the Board of Spokespersons requests or when the bill as a whole or some articles of the bill are sent back to the committee or withdrawn by the committee, this period may be ignored.
4. Representation of the Government in the Committees
The Prime Minister or a minister may attend the committee meetings as the representative of the government. İf deemed necessary, the Prime Minister or the minister may delegate representative authority to a higher public officer in writing.
In the absence of the government representative, the committee may continue the meeting or may suspend the debate once. In case the meeting is suspended due to the absence of the representative, the ministry concerned is informed of the case and asks the representative to be present at the next meeting. If the representative is still absent in the next meeting, the debate continues without the representative.
5. The Time Periods for Committee Debate
The debate on the bill can start 48 hours after the date of referral. The advice of the Board of Spokespersons is required in order to start the debate on the subject before 48 hours have passed.
The debate on the bill has to be concluded by the main committee within 45 days after the date of referral. The government may request a government bill that is not debated in that period to be placed on the agenda of the Plenary by a petition submitted to the Office of the Speaker. The deputies sponsoring a private members’ bill may also submit a petition for the same demand.
These requests are included in the agenda of the Plenary under the section “Presentation of the Office of the Speaker to the Plenary.”
During the debate in the Plenary, the committee, government, the sponsor of the private member’s bill and a deputy may have the floor for a maximum of five minutes. After the debate, voting by show of hands takes place to decide whether the subject is to be included in the agenda of the Plenary or not. If the request of the government or the sponsor of the bill is accepted by the Plenary, the bill is put on the agenda of the Plenary without deliberation in the committee.
6. Attendance of the Committee Meetings
The committee meetings are open to all deputies, members of the Council of Ministers, and government representatives.
The chairpersons of the committees may invite experts to present their opinions and may also invite the representatives of relevant public institutions and NGOs to do so.
The legislative experts also attend committee meetings to provide legal and technical support.
7. Speeches in the Committee Meetings
The speakers are granted leave to speak in the committee meetings in the order of request. The chairpersons of the committees and the government are not subject to the order of request. When necessary, the chairpersons may give the floor to the experts summoned to the committee meetings.
The deputies who are not committee members may take the floor with permission, but they cannot vote and table motions of amendment. The deputies may obtain and read the committee documents even if they are not committee members.
8. Deliberation of Bills in the Committees
First, the debate on the whole bill takes place. After deliberating the whole bill, a vote is taken on whether to move on to the articles or not. If proceeding to the articles is not accepted, the bill is deemed as rejected.
If moving on to the articles is accepted, a debate on each article starts separately. Each article is voted on after the speeches on the article end and motions of amendments are processed. The articles that are not accepted are removed from the text. After completing the debate and voting on all articles, voting on the bill as a whole takes place.
The committees may accept the bills with or without amendments or reject them. When the motions of amendments tabled by committee members are accepted, the text of the bill is amended accordingly. The right to table motions of amendment and to vote belongs to the committee members only.
9. Preparation of Motions of Amendment in the Committees
The motions of amendment are prepared as petitions to be submitted to the Office of the Committee. Motions must be signed by at least one committee member. Motions must also include the justification of the suggested amendment.
An amendment to only one article can be proposed by a motion. The removal or the total or partial amendment of an article and the addition of supplementary or provisional articles can be proposed by a motion.
10. Quorum and Majority for Decision
The quorum for committee meetings is one-third of the total membership. The committees decide with the absolute majority of the members present. As the number of members present at the meeting increases, so does the required majority for the decision.
However, as stated by their special laws, the Committee on Public Economic Enterprises, the Committee on the Inquiry of Human Rights, the Committee on European Union Harmonization, and the Committee on the Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men can decide by an absolute majority of the members present provided that that majority is not less than one more than one-fourth of the total number of members.
11. Formation of Sub-Committees
The committees may set up sub-committees when the bills are more comprehensive or controversial or when a more detailed examination of the bill is deemed necessary. Sub-committees function as the forums where an agreed text can be prepared after a detailed and technical examination of the bill. The provisions of the Constitution, the Rules of Procedure, and parliamentary practices are applied during the sub-committee’s work by analogy. The committees usually continue their work on the report and the text adopted by the sub-committees.
12. Committee Reports
The committees prepare a report on the subjects decided upon. They may reject or accept the subject under deliberation. In both cases, they are required to prepare a report. The Rules of Procedure states that committee reports shall be written by the chairperson or spokesperson of the committee or a special spokesperson elected for this purpose. Legislative experts also assist in writing committee reports. Committee reports are submitted to the Office of the Speaker.
Committee reports are signed by the deputies taking part in the final vote. Those who attended previous meetings of the committee but failed to be present during the final vote can sign the report by stating their dissenting opinions. However, the fact that they have not attended the final voting shall be stated in the report.
Committee members who signed the committee report can speak against the committee report or submit questions to the spokesperson of the committee only on subjects other than those on which he or she expressed his or her objection or abstention in the committee report.
The committee report is composed of two sections. All the opinions on the bills expressed, amendments (with their justifications) in the committees, and the manner in which the members cast their votes during the final vote are included in the first section of the report. Objections to the committee report by dissenting members are included in the final section.
The second section of the report consists of the original text of the bill and the text of the bill accepted by the committee. If the committee does not make any amendment, it is stated in the text that the article is accepted without any amendment. Amended articles are re-written with amendments.
Committee reports are printed and distributed to the deputies, and published on the web page of the Assembly. Committee reports printed are annexed to the minutes of the first sitting when deliberation on the report starts in the Plenary.
In cases when more than two bills are combined, the bills are also included in the printed committee report. In the final section of the report, the text of the bill as adopted by the committee and the original version of the bill appear. The Plenary debates on the text of the bill as adopted by the committee.
13. Re-deliberation of the Bills in the Committees
Before completing the deliberation on an item of the agenda, the committee may decide to re-deliberate the specific topics related to that subject by the vote of the absolute majority of the committee members present.
The committee can decide on the re-deliberation of the item at once at the written and justified request of an absolute majority of the total number of committee members just before the committee report is submitted to the Office of the Speaker.
After the report has been submitted to the Office of the Speaker and included in the agenda of the Plenary, it can be re-deliberated in the committee only at the request of the main committee and the government.