90 percent of university students unable to find accommodation, says CHP lawmaker

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali Mahir Başarır has said nearly 90 percent of students in Turkey who are due to start university this fall are unable to find accommodation, the Bold Medya news website reported.

The number of state-funded dormitories in the country are not adequate to accommodate university students, and in the current housing crisis, students are left with no options. Başarır said the student housing crisis was due to policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“While the number of students who have started university has increased to more than 8 million this year, the capacity of state-funded dormitories has dropped. Most of the dormitories are not habitable and need serious renovations. The government clearly does not value students,” he said.

The student housing crisis has reached a tipping point in Turkey. Most students say they cannot afford housing or basic necessities. Students studying in big cities such as Istanbul say they have to share cramped apartments and still can’t make ends meet. Some say they have to study and sleep in shifts because there’s not enough room for more beds and desks in the small apartments.

Other students said they live in damp and moldy apartments because they can’t afford better.

Real estate agents said the housing crisis would only get worse and that they did not see it being resolved by the end of the year. As the new academic year approaches, they believe the crisis will hit university students the hardest.

A group of university students calling themselves the “We Can’t Shelter” movement staged their first vigil in Istanbul on September 19, sleeping outdoors in protest of high dormitory and rental prices. The protests then spread among university students in various cities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted the students during a press conference, saying the protestors “were lying” as there were enough dormitories all across the country.

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