The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM, ), usually referred to simply as the Meclis ("parliament"), is the unicameral Turkish legislature. It is the sole body given the legislative prerogatives by the Turkish Constitution. It was founded in Ankara on 23 April 1920 in the midst of the Turkish War of Independence. The parliament was fundamental in the efforts of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues to found a new state out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the World War I.
There are 550 members of parliament who are elected for a four-year term by the D'Hondt method, a party-list proportional representation system, from 85 electoral districts which represent the 81 administrative provinces of Turkey (Istanbul is divided into three electoral districts whereas Ankara and İzmir are divided into two each because of their large populations). To avoid a hung parliament and its excessive political fragmentation, only parties that win at least 10% of the votes cast in a national parliamentary election gain the right to representation in the parliament. As a result of this threshold, only two parties were able to obtain that right during the 2002 elections and three in 2007. This rather high threshold has been internationally criticised, but a complaint with the European Court for Human Rights was turned down.
Independent candidates may also run and can be elected without needing a threshold.
Since the 2002 general elections, an absolute majority of the seats belong to the members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), who lead a single-party government. In 2002, the Republican People's Party (CHP) was the only other party that succeeded in being represented in Parliament. At the 2007 general elections, three parties managed to clear the 10% threshold - AK Party, CHP, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Furthermore, Kurdish politicians from the Democratic Society Party (DTP) circumvented the threshold by contesting the election as independents; 24 of them were elected, enabling them to constitute their own faction in the Assembly.