ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's parliament has begun debating a series of controversial changes to its bylaws that critics say aim to further curtail opposition voices.

Legislators on Monday took up 18 proposed amendments that would reduce the times allocated to legislators to speak. Two opposition parties say the move is aimed at muzzling the opposition and is an affront to democracy.

The government insists the changes will render parliament more effective. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is accused of increased authoritarianism, has long criticized the opposition for allegedly obstructing parliament.

The measures have the backing of the country's far-right nationalist party and are expected to pass.

The amendments also change parliament's dress code enabling the parliament speaker to wear a regular suit instead of a white tie and tailcoat.