Turkish gov’t looking to slash time limit on lawmakers’ speech in parliament

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), are working on a new legislation which would cut the time limit on speeches delivered by the country’s lawmakers in parliament, Birgün newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The move is part of a bid to prevent opposition deputies from delaying the approval of draft bills submitted to parliament by the ruling AKP-MHP alliance, the newspaper said.

The regulation, which is in its preparatory phase, seeks to slash the microphone time given to each lawmaker by half, it said.

Current regulations limit the speeches delivered on behalf of party groups and commissions to 20 minutes, while members are allotted 10 minutes. The time limit placed on any secondary follow up speech is cut in half. The new regulation will see that speech times are cut to 10, five and three minutes, respectively. 

The ruling alliance is attempting to turn Turkish parliament into a “legislation machine,” and the regulation is a violation of the Turkish constitution, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chairman Özel said.

Opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki also said the plan was part of an attempt to silence the opposition.

“If they are bothered even by our utterance of words, then this shows the fear and concern they have,’’ Tiryaki said. “A restriction means silencing the opposition.’’