Turkey: HDP submits bill to provide free meals to university students

Turkey: HDP submits bill to provide free meals to university students
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The bill aims to prevent a food crisis in the universities as the students suffer increasing prices and decreasing portions in the cafeteria

A draft law in Turkey was submitted to the National Assembly on Friday to provide university students with free breakfast, lunch and dinner to prevent malnourishment, while a proposal to fund just one meal per student a day was blocked by the ruling bloc deputies. 

The bill, which was submitted by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, aimed to provide students with meals that consisted of hearty and healthy food in the cafeteria as the studints are unable to eat outside due the cost of living crisis triggered by the peak in exchange rates. 

“The successive increase in the prices of the university cafeteria, the reduction of the food portions and the insufficient nutritional value make the food crisis even worse. The mass poisonings in many dormitories reveal the gravity of the situation,” HDP said. 

Evrensel newspaper said university cafeterias started the year with 70% to 100% increases in meals and sometimes the university administrations fell short to supply every student with enough food. 

“Today, in a system where students cannot benefit from the right to free and healthy nutrition, it is not possible to talk about the right to free education. For this reason, the nutritional need, which is one of the most basic needs in terms of free education life, should be met free of charge and food portions should be brought to a standard where students can eat adequately and healthily,” a statement by the HDP said. 

Meanwhile, an additional budget proposal to provide a meal per day per student was blocked by the deputies from the ruling parties during discussions in a commission in the parliament.