Nowadays, while the quantity of foreign relations activities of the Assembly is increasing, the quality is gaining new dimensions as well. Putting the parliamentary process and methods into action within the scope of international relations, and furthermore, attributing duties to the Assemblies and parliamentarians on international relations, have been called parliamentary diplomacy.
In democratic states of law, diplomacy is not maintained only through traditional methods anymore, and a new approach called “public” diplomacy has been on the agenda. Public diplomacy consists of the total number of activities with regard to the correct understanding of dynamics in the public opinion of foreign countries; informing and affecting the key actors shaping public opinion. Within this mindset, parliamentary diplomacy has started to be intensively used as one of the tools of soft power.
In parliamentary diplomacy, one of the parties should be in parliament. In this context, the following mechanisms and functions are essential components of parliamentary diplomacy:
· International Parliamentary Assemblies
· Joint Parliamentary Committees
· Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Groups
· Approving the ratification of treaties
· Deploying Turkish armed forces abroad and deciding on the existence of foreign armed forces in Turkey
· The external relations of the committees, primarily the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on EU Harmonization, the Committee on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men, and the Committee on Human Rights Inquiry
· Deliberations in the Plenary regarding the foreign policy of our country
· Monitoring parliamentary and presidential elections in foreign countries
Foreign relations activities of the Assembly have increased tremendously in the last decade. So many activities in different categories have been carried out, notably, mutual visits at the level of the Speaker of the Assembly. In addition, cooperation protocols have been signed with numerous foreign parliaments for the purpose of improving inter-parliamentary relations, exchanging views, preparing mutual internships, and exchange programs.
The major activities of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey within the scope of external relations are as follows:
· Relations carried out within the framework of the international organizations of which Turkey is a member,
· Relations within the framework of joint parliamentary committees established or to be established as per an existing treaty between the Turkish Republic and an international organization that has an organ in its own body consisting of parliamentarians,
· Relations within the framework of parliamentary unions established or to be established with or without an international agreement,
· Relations within the framework of friendship groups to be established on the principles of reciprocity with one or more than one of foreign parliament,
· Mutual official visits to parliaments of foreign countries,
· International meetings to be held with the participation of member of parliaments from foreign parliaments, governments and international organizations, and the international meetings to be organized by the Grand National Assembly as well.
· Activities of the private parliamentary delegations to pay official visits to foreign countries in terms of Turkey’s foreign policy.
Foreign relations activities of the GNAT are carried out as per the Law on Regulation of Foreign Relations of the GNAT (Law No. 3620, dated March 28, 1990). In this manner, the duty of carrying out the business and proceedings pertaining to the international relations and activities of the Grand National Assembly and the Administrative Organization has been granted to the Department of Protocol and Foreign Relations (of the Assembly) pursuant to the Law on Administrative Organization of the Office of the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly (Law No. 6253, dated December 1, 2011).