The Role of the Speaker
Parliamentary diplomacy is carried out at the highest level by the Speakers of the Assemblies. In this sense, meetings of the Speaker with his counterparts, foreign delegations he receives, international meetings in which he participates, official visits he pays to foreign countries, representing the Grand National Assembly of Turkey at the highest level, form the most important leg of parliamentary diplomacy.
As is known to all, the Speaker of the Assembly succeeds the President of the Republic on the State Protocol List, Accordingly, the foreign relations established by the Speakers are of the utmost importance. Besides, the Speaker of the Assembly receives delegations as Acting President of the Republic when the President pays an official visit abroad.
Each term, Speakers of the Assembly have attached the utmost importance to foreign relations of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. In meetings with their counterparts, Speakers of the Assembly have made significant contributions to improving the relations between the (two) countries, preventing conflicts if any, hosting multilateral meetings to act jointly on matters concerning the international community, developing inter-parliamentary relations, and organizing mutual visits and exchange programs among the parliaments through the cooperation protocols signed. The legislative body, which is independent of the executive, has become an indispensable part of the foreign policy through the foreign activities of the Speaker.
The Speaker of the Assembly also meets with presidents paying official visits to our country, inter alia his or her counterparts from other parliaments. Furthermore, the Speaker receives prime ministers, ambassadors and various foreign dignitaries separately.
The Speaker of the Assembly conveys greetings and messages of condolence to foreign countries and delivers speeches on international issues and developments at international meetings and conferences in which he participates.
The Speaker attends conferences and platforms established within the body of various international organizations for only the heads of parliaments. Recently, these conferences have made considerable progress in institutionalization and have become one of the important tools of parliamentary diplomacy. Conferences and platforms of heads of parliaments in which the Speaker of the Assembly participates are as follows:
a. Conference of the Speakers of EU Parliaments
b. European Conference of Presidents of Parliaments
c. Conference of Parliamentary Union of Islamic Cooperation Organization
d. Meeting of D-20 Speakers’ Consultation
e. Conference of the Speakers of the Parliaments of Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic- Speaking Countries
f. Conference of the Speakers of the Parliaments of the South East European Cooperation Process
g. World Conference of the Speakers of Parliaments (organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union).
Moreover, the Speaker of the Assembly delivers speeches and presides over certain sittings in the Plenary and annual sessions of parliamentary assemblies and international organizations such as the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, the Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Turkey as host country or within her rotating presidency.