AKP government responds to 5 pct of parliamentary inquiries

After the presidential system was instated in Turkey, the rate of response to written inquiries that MPs use as a tool for information has fallen to around 5 pct, reported Turkish daily BirGün on Tuesday.

With the presidential system, the tools for information at MPs’ disposal have been reduced to the written inquiries as motions and verbal inquiries are no longer part of the procedure. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Özgür Özel said, “Ministers who don’t respond to inquiries as necessary are neglecting their public duty”.

The response rate for written inquiries have been steadily falling since the Justice and Development Party’(AKP) came to power in 2002, when the rate was at around 86 pct.

Vice President Fuat Oktay responded to concerns raised by opposition MPs that their inquiries were regularly left unanswered during a Planning Commission session and said the government responds to written inquiries “out of respect for the Turkish parliament”. 

Available statistics tell a different story, however. Records from the 21st government’s term from 1999 to 2002, as the last government before the AKP, show a 86.94 pct response rate, while since 2018 when the presidential system was instated, the rate falls to 5.69 pct, with only 821 out of the 14,408 written inquiries submitted to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office received responses within the legal time frame.

CHP Group Deputy Chairman said the Constitution stipulates that written inquires are responded to within 15 days. “The quality of the responses to inquiries and whether they were received on time is proportional to the power the parliament wields,” said Özel and added: “The Parliamentary President belonging to the same party as the executive branch of the government poses an obstacle to the president defending rights and justice for the parliament.”

Özel said the government and VP are not doing their jobs: “The purpose of the inquiry is to receive a timely and adequate response. Ministers who don’t respond to inquiries as necessary are neglecting their public duty. We will continue to uphold the parliament and defend justice as per the responsibility our citizens have placed on our shoulders.”