The Bureau of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye has significant roles regarding the legislative activities and administrative matters. The Bureau is composed of the Speaker, Vice-Speakers, Quaestors, and Secretaries.
The Bureau consists of fifteen deputies in total, including the Speaker, four Vice-Speakers, three Quaestors and seven Secretaries and ensures the proportionate representation of all political party groups.
The Plenary may increase the number of quaestors and secretaries upon a proposal of the Board of Spokespersons, if necessary. However, the number of Vice-Speakers cannot be more than four.
Vice-Speakers preside over the Plenary sittings according to weekly rotation. The Speaker of the Assembly presides over the Plenary sittings if he deems it necessary. Two secretaries shall be present in their seats during the meeting.
Some of the duties of the Bureau are as follows:
- permitting the committees to convene during the working hours of the Plenary,
- examining and deciding on the validity of a deputy’s letter of resignation,
- examining the case of a deputy persisting in holding an office or performing a duty incompatible with the deputy’s parliamentary mandate,
- conducting the necessary investigation upon an application to correct the minutes recorded in the Plenary,
- deciding on cases requiring one minute’s silence,
- taking decisions on the administrative organization of the Assembly.
Election of the Speaker of the Assembly
The election of the Speaker is held twice within a legislative term. The term of office of the Speaker, who is elected at the beginning of the legislative term, is two years. In the first election, the candidates from among the deputies are submitted to the Bureau within five days after the first sitting of the Assembly. The Speaker is elected by secret ballot.
In the first two ballots, two-thirds of the total number of deputies, and in the third ballot, an absolute majority of the total number of deputies are required. In case an absolute majority cannot be obtained in the third ballot, a fourth ballot takes place between the two candidates who obtain most of the votes. In the fourth ballot, the candidate receiving the highest number of the votes is elected as the Speaker.
The election of the Speaker is concluded within five days following the end of the period for nomination.
In the second election of the Speaker to be held in the same legislative term, the candidates shall be submitted to the Bureau within five to ten days before the office of the incumbent Speaker expires. The Speaker serves until the end of the legislative term.
Elections of Vice-Speakers, Secretaries and Quaestors
Two elections are held for members of the Bureau within a legislative term. The office of those elected for the first half of the legislative term is two years. The office of the Bureau members elected for the second half of the legislative term continues till the end of the legislative term.
The Speaker determines the percentage of the political party groups within the total number of party groups in the Assembly, and the number of positions in the Bureau for each political party group in compliance with its size, and notifies the Board of Spokespersons of the case.
The positions for the Vice-Speakers in the Bureau are allocated among the political parties, starting with the party having the highest percentage, provided that two of the positions should be designated to the political party having the absolute majority of the total number.
The Plenary decides on the allocation of the positions of the secretaries and quaestors after consulting the Board of Spokespersons.
Each political party group submits a list of candidates for the Bureau membership allocated to them. The election is concluded by voting on the list through show of hands.
The Board of Spokespersons, under the chairmanship of the Speaker or a vice-speaker assigned by the Speaker, is composed of chairpersons of the political party groups or their deputies. In case of necessity, vice-speakers may attend meetings of the Board of Spokespersons upon invitation.
The Board of Spokespersons is an organ established in order to reach consensus among political party groups on their participation in parliamentary activities. The Board of Spokespersons makes recommendations to the Plenary on issues such as determining the days and hours of Plenary debates, setting and changing the agenda of the Plenary, and determining the number of committee members.
The Board of Spokespersons is summoned for a meeting by the Speaker if he or she deems it necessary, or upon the request of the chairmanship of a political party group within 24 hours at the latest. If the Board of Spokespersons cannot convene upon the first call and cannot decide, propose, or express an opinion unanimously, the Speaker or political party groups may separately present their requests directly to the Plenary.
The Plenary of the Assembly is the final decision organ which carries out the legislative, scrutiny and other functions. Bills debated in the committees are enacted upon the approval of the Plenary.
The motions on obtaining information and methods of scrutiny, except motions of written questions, are submitted for the information of the Plenary or deliberated in the Plenary.
Furthermore, the decisions taken and the elections held in the Plenary pertain to various matters foreseen in the Constitution, the Rules of Procedure and laws.
First Meeting and Oath Taking
The Plenary convenes without summons at 2 pm on the third day following the announcement of the final results of a parliamentary election by the Supreme Board of Election.
In this sitting, first an oath-taking ceremony is conducted by each deputy. Deputies who are unable to attend the oath-taking ceremony shall take the oath at the beginning of the first sitting in which they participate. Deputies take the oath by reading out the text in the Constitution from the rostrum.
Working Days and Hours of the Plenary
As a general rule, the Assembly sits on Tuesdays from 3 pm to 9 pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 pm to 9 pm. However, depending on a proposal of the Board of Spokesmen and a decision of the Plenary, the Assembly may sit during various hours and on various days of the week.
In practice, the Plenary may convene earlier than 3 pm or 2 pm and work later than 9 pm or on the weekends, particularly during budgetary debates.
Agenda of the Plenary
The Plenary performs its activities in accordance with its own agenda. The agenda of the Plenary is printed out and distributed during the days on which the Assembly sits.
According to article 49 of the Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye, specific time of a day can be allocated for preliminary debates regarding general debate and parliamentary inquiry upon a proposal of the Board of Spokespersons and approve of the Plenary. And also, a specific day can be allocated for elections and the matters to be voted.
Upon a proposal of the Board of Spokespersons the Plenary may alter the days of debate of this section.
The order of the items in the sections of the agenda is decided according to the sequence of the business in the course of admittance by the Office of the Speaker.
Speeches off the Agenda
In extraordinarily urgent cases considered necessary to be announced to the Plenary, by the discretion of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker, at most three deputies are allowed to speak on matters not on the agenda, not exceeding five minutes before moving to the agenda.
Speaking on matters not on the agenda is requested from the Speaker or Vice-Speaker presiding over the sitting of that day. The Speaker or Vice-Speaker determines the deputies to be given the floor, taking into consideration criteria such as the importance and actuality of the matter and the balance among the political party groups.
The President, the vice-Presidents and the ministers have right to demand non-agenda speech in extraordinarily urgent cases. The Speaker shall fulfill this request. After the President, the vice-Presidents or the ministers’ speech off the agenda, political party groups are given the floor not exceeding ten minutes. In addition, a deputy who is the member of a political party without a parliamentary group or an independent deputy is permitted to speak for a period not exceeding five minutes.
In this case, the request takes place in the “Presentations of the Office of the Speaker to the Plenary” which is included in the agenda of the first sitting. The Plenary reaches a decision by show of hands after the speeches of deputies have finished.
Committees are organs consisting of a certain number of deputies designated by taking their expertise into consideration and examining the texts to be debated in the Plenary. After the bills have been examined and debated in the committees, they are submitted to the Plenary.
The committees have been established by the Constitution, the Rules of Procedure, or the laws. Committees are classified into two categories in terms of their duration as ad hoc committees and standing committees. Standing committees are also known as “specialized committees.” Ad hoc committees are established for a certain period of time in order to obtain information and perform supervisory functions.
Some of the standing committees merely deal with lawmaking, whereas some of them do not debate any bill but perform the duties undertaken by laws. Besides, some have special powers and duties.
Individual applications can be made to the Committee on Human Rights Inquiry, the Committee on Petitions, and the Committee on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men.
1. The Committee on the Constitution
2. The Committee on Justice
3. The Committee on National Defense
4. The Committee on Internal Affairs
5. The Committee on Foreign Affairs
6. The Committee on National Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport
7. The Committee on Public Works, Reconstruction, Transportation, and Tourism
8. The Committee on Environment
9. The Committee on Health, Family, Labour, and Social Affairs
10. The Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural Affairs
11. The Committee on Industry, Trade, Energy, Natural Resources, Information and Technology
12. The Committee on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men
13. The Committee on Petitions
14. The Committee on Plan and Budget
15. The Committee on State Economic Enterprises
16. The Committee on Human Rights Inquiry
17. The Committee on Digital Channels
18. The Committee on Security and Intelligence
19. The Committee on European Union Harmonization
Election of the Committee Members
The Plenary determines the number of members of the standing committees at the beginning of each legislative term to enable the representation of party groups according to their strength. However, the number of members of the Committee on Public Economic Enterprises is foreseen as 35 and the number of members of the Committee on Security and Intelligence is foreseen as 17 in their founding laws.
The Constitution states that the provisions of the Rules of Procedure shall be regulated in a way that ensures the participation of the political party groups in all parliamentary activities according to the ratio of numbers of their members.
The Rules of Procedure also regulate that the number of memberships allocated to each political party group in the committees shall be determined according to the percentage of each political party group within the party groups’ total number of members in the Assembly.
Furthermore, it is envisaged in the founding laws of some of the committees that deputies who belong to a political party not having a party group, and independent deputies shall be represented in the committees in the ratio of their numbers to the numbers of the political party groups. Within this mindset, the allocation of the members to the committees is decided by the Plenary upon the determination of the Speaker and a proposal of the Board of Spokespersons.
The Speaker informs the political party groups of the number allocated to them for each committee and requests them to nominate their candidates within a certain period. The political party groups determine their candidates for the committees by taking their expertise into consideration. The list of members submitted by the party groups is voted on in the Plenary.
The deputies who belong to a political party not having a party group and independent deputies may be members of the Committee on Plan and Budget, the Committee on Human Rights Inquiry, the Committee on EU harmonization, the Committee on Public Economic Enterprises, and the Committee on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men according to their size. The memberships of the committees falling to the deputies who belong to a political party not having a party group and independent deputies are announced and a certain period is determined for the candidacy. In case there is only one candidate, the election is held through show of hands, and if there is more than one candidate, the election is held by using joint ballot papers.
The members of the Bureau cannot be members of any committee.
The committees whose members are elected are summoned by the Speaker to elect their chairpersons, deputy chairpersons, spokespersons and secretaries from among their members.
The committees shall meet with the absolute majority of the total number of members and decide by the vote of the absolute majority of the members present. The election is held by secret vote.
Two elections are held for the committees within a legislative term. The term of office of the committee members elected at the beginning of the legislative term is two years and the elections are renewed at the end of this period.