Government determined to continue free milk project despite setback

Government determined to continue free milk project despite setback

Around 7 million schoolchildren started to receive free milk daily at school last week on Wednesday. (Photo: Today's Zaman)

May 07, 2012, Monday/ 15:40:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he is personally in favor of going ahead with the government's free school milk project despite a recent setback in which milk handed out to students was suspected of being contaminated and led many children to be hospitalized.

Noting that an allergic reaction diagnosis had been determined as regards school children who were hospitalized after drinking the milk, Erdoğan declared, “A scientific investigation is being conducted [into the issue]. We will make a definitive decision after the results of the investigation come out on Monday or Tuesday. But I'm personally not in favor of stopping the project.”

Speaking to reporters at the Gaziantep Sazgın Airport before leaving for Ljubljana on Sunday evening, Erdoğan said the government had two targets in starting the project: first, to prevent milk producers from being exploited, and second, to help school children's diet. The prime minister seemed a little annoyed by some comments which put the blame on the pasteurized milk with a long shelf life, saying, “Why, then, did the hospitalization cases start with the school milk campaign? The same pasteurized milk has been on the shelves in all supermarkets.”

The privatization of state theaters was another theme at the press conference. Erdoğan once again stressed that the government no longer had any intention of paying actors and actresses' salaries to subsidize the theater. “We will take the state out of theater by privatization as we have done in other sectors of the economy,” Erdoğan said, adding, however, that the state would allocate theaters to various theater groups for a period of time.

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