AKP presses button for contentious change to parliament’s internal rules

AKP presses button for contentious change to parliament’s internal rules

AKP presses button for contentious change to parliament’s internal rules

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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has announced the start of a process to overhaul parliament’s internal rules, which it says is necessary to make legislative work more efficient but which the opposition believes will further curb opposing voices. 

“It’s time for us to do something about these internal regulations. Misusing the scope of internal regulations and bad habits have increased enormously,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told his parliamentary group at a weekly meeting on July 12. 

Several previous attempts to change the working program of the Turkish Parliament have failed after compromise between political parties could not be reached. The government now wants to restrict the time given for each political party in parliamentary discussions and to put a limit on the number of motions that can be introduced by each party in legislative sessions. The opposition parties regard the move as an attempt to silence their voice and weaken the opposition in parliament. 

Yıldırım stated that his party will engage in dialogue with the three opposition parties this week to request their support in changing the blueprint. 

“We hope an agreement can be struck. Why can political parties, whose single objective is to serve to our people, not agree among themselves, even though we can make agreements with countries that were previously unimaginable?” he added, in reference to Turkey’s recent steps to normalize relations with Israel and Russia. 

“We extend our hands to the opposition parties as well. We aim to develop friendship with the opposition too,” the prime minister said.

Call on the opposition parties
Opposition parties have the right and duty to oppose to the government and represent their voters, Yıldırım added, while stressing that they must not also render parliamentary work ineffective and deliberately waste time. 

“I’m calling on them: Do your opposition before elections as much as you want, but after elections let’s all together consider what we can do for the future of Turkey. Our people no longer want to hear empty words. They have no tolerance for meaningless accusations,” he said.