The Turkish Grand National Assembly complex: an evaluation of the function and meaning of parliamentary spaces

Demirkol, Hatice Günseli
This study is an evaluation of the function and the meaning of parliamentary spaces of the Turkish Republic, focusing on the parliamentary complex of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in the capital city of Ankara. Parliament buildings are symbols of the nation and the nation state, representing the national identity via expressional aspects of their functional space. The issue is of national prestige, security and power that remain in effect albeit adapting to changing situations in time. This study attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the spatial, stylistic as well as the urban characteristics of parliamentary spaces in Turkey by examining the earlier experiences in late Ottoman and early Republican periods, and by not only analyzing the establishment of the complex as designed by Holzmeister in the late 1930s, but also evaluating its enlargement as affected by the changing exigencies in contemporary political agendas after the Assembly had started to use the complex in the 1960s until today. The study examines the formation and the transformation of the Assembly complex in Turkey under the pressure of the highly dynamic political realities of the twentieth century, in order to reflect upon the continuities and discontinuities in functions and meanings of the parliamentary spaces throughout the process.