Opposition MP asks minister why academics receive less salary in private universities

In a parliamentary question addressing Turkish Education Minister Yusuf Tekin, an opposition MP from the Labor Party (EMEP) asked why academics receive less salary despite the institutions’ legal obligation.

This file photo shows EMEP MP İskender Bayhan

Duvar English

İskender Bayhan, İstanbul deputy of the leftist Labor Party (EMEP), has submitted a parliamentary question inquiring about the salaries of the academics working in private universities.

Bayhan addressed Education Minister Yusuf Tekin and asked why academics of private universities receive less salary than their counterparts in public universities. He added that private universities were breaking the law by not leveling salaries across the board.

The deputy said that some private universities in Turkey pay their research assistants slightly above the hunger threshold and that some of the universities blame the economic crisis in Turkey for the poor pay, sending e-mails to faculty that ask for “solidarity and selflessness.”

He added that the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) is responsible for crosschecking salary policies across different institutions.

The academicians of public universities in Turkey work under precarity and unequal pay. The struggle of the academicians asking for “equal pay for equal work” resulted in a 2020 regulation that required equal pay between public and private universities. However, the law is not enforced resulting in wage discrepancies across private universities.

The government-run TÜİK reported an annual inflation rate of 61.53% in September, whereas the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 130.13%. Millions of Turks cannot make ends meet due to soaring inflation and rising cost of living.