Renovations underway in Turkish parliament to adapt chamber to presidential system
Bülent Sarıoğlu – ANKARARenovations have started at Turkey’s parliament in Ankara in order to outfit the legislature for the presidential system after the “yes” campaign won a disputed referendum on April 16 to impose an executive presidential system on the country.
Restoration had already begun in parliament after the legislature was bombed by putschists during the July 15, 2016, failed coup, which is widely believed to have been masterminded by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
The repair efforts are in their final stage in the government and opposition halls in parliament’s main building, while construction is ongoing in the presidency council, former prime ministerial office and ceremonial hall, which was previously used for the Human Rights Commission.
According to the plan, the newly constructed large rooms on top of the ceremonial hall will be reorganized as the president’s office. The president will use the office when he arrives in parliament for an opening ceremony or the parliamentary group meeting of his party.
The hall of the General Assembly will also be renovated before the next general elections.
In the new system, ministers will only enter the General Assembly to take their oaths, while there will no longer be seats for the government across from the lawmakers, meaning there will not be seats for the prime minister or ministers.
With the new regulations, previous incidents such as the leaving of gas canisters in order to protest police violence or carnations as a show of praise for ministers, won’t take place anymore. The ministers will watch parliamentary works from special locations, similar to civil servants.
New offices will also be created due to the expected increase in the number of lawmakers from 550 to 600.
There are a total of 430 offices in the public relations building, which was brought into use in recent years but which is not generally appreciated by deputies. Because there are nearly 50 offices in the main building and separate offices for the ministers, these bureaus are not sufficient for the 550 current lawmakers.
The new public relations building has become a subject of debate because of the number of floors shadowing the main building. Trimming the top two floors of the building and opening new offices and restaurants in place of the former public relations building are reportedly being considered.