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ECONOMICS > Government to end discount vacations for public officials

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

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The Finance Ministry has started to take an inventory of the public facilities used for public and military officials’ vacations after an outburst by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan has called the facilities a “waste of state money,” hinting that they would be privatized.

Erdoğan said last week that these facilities operated for just two months a year and were abandoned the rest of the time. He suggested that the state make deals with hotels on the same terms, hinting that these holiday facilities might be sold in the future.

Following Erdoğan’s criticism, the Finance Ministry put the sale of 779 public facilities on its agenda.

The Finance Ministry is taking inventory to determine which and how many facilities every public institution has, as well as what purposes they are used for. All public institutions will be included in the inventory work, daily Radikal reported yesterday quoting sources. Meanwhile, facilities belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces will also be privatized, the sources said, which means thousands of kilometers of land in resort towns in Turkey will be privatized.

An official from the public workers union said the new regulation denied public workers’ right to rest and is a product of liberal policies.

Günay Kaya, deputy head of Memur-Sen (the Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions), told the Hürriyet Daily News that the government has to guarantee public sector workers’ opportunity to have vacations in good conditions. “Working is a human right. But resting is a human right too. [The government] wants efficiency, but the other needs of those people are not taken into consideration,” said Kaya.

Kaya claimed that the privatization plan can only be compensated for if the government guarantees it will pay a “reasonable” amount of money to public sector workers for their vacation time.

“I call on the authorities. If you promise to give around 11,000 Turkish Liras to each public sector worker for 30 days of vacation time a year, then you could sell these facilities. But you have to guarantee that this payment will not be stopped at some future date,” Kaya told the Daily News.

On Jan. 21 the cost of holiday facilities for public sector workers was published by the Finance Ministry in the Official Gazette as 20 liras for seaside accommodation with three meals.

Classified based on 21 criteria of luxury, holiday facilities in at least 15 of these categories are deemed the most expensive. These high-cost facilities are often along a coast, lake or river, are suitable for winter sports, have swimming pools, saunas, Turkish baths and parking lots. During the busy season, these facilities cost 19.95 liras for public workers. One night of accommodation at guesthouses serving public officers and their families costs seven liras.

January/24/2013

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