Turkish Parliament to open for fourth legislative session with virus measures

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The Turkish Parliament is set to start the fourth legislative session of its 27th term on Oct. 1 with virus measures amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Parliament’s General Assembly will convene on Oct. 1, at 2.00 p.m. local time (1100GMT), under Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop.

But Şentop will not host an opening reception this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Later, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will deliver an opening speech at the General Assembly.

For parliament’s opening, lawmakers are obliged to conduct COVID-19 tests to minimize any risk of transmissions.

Naci Bostancı, the group leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has said that some media outlets have interpreted this testing obligation “differently.”

“As you know, the lawmakers are coming to parliament after a long recess. They have been to different places in Turkey and were in intense contact with the public,” Bostancı said.

“Even though these contacts were limited in pandemic conditions, politics is still an area which has high social relations. Thus, when we ask for COVID-19 tests, we want people, who will be in parliament, to not carry risks,” he added.

Meanwhile, Şentop said that 41 personnel of the parliament were currently being treated for COVID-19 at their homes. He said that 276 cases had been detected among the parliament’s staff since March, and all of them recovered, with 41 still being under treatment.

But Şentop said a 34-year-old personnel had died suffering from the coronavirus.

According to the current data, 15 lawmakers had contracted COVID-19, and all of them recovered, said the parliament speaker.

On Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, the General Assembly is scheduled to debate motions to extend the state’s authority to launch cross-border military operations in northern Iraq and Syria for another year.

Marathon deliberations on the 2021 budget will begin after a budget proposal is submitted by Oct. 17.

The planning and budget committee will be first to debate the budget in November, with a vote in the General Assembly slated for December.

Hurriyet Daily News

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