Turkish Court of Accounts report reveals wrongful spending in academia

The 2018 report by Turkey’s Court of Accounts on the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) revealed irregular spending in various areas including travels and construction, left-wing newspaper BirGün reported.

The irregular activity was found in the Scientific Research Projects (BAP) budget which is allocated strictly for stand-alone research projects under the bylaws.

Faculty members were given funding from the BAP budget under false pretences to attend conferences and symposiums, as the report stated that the bylaws don’t permit financial aid for travel if said events are not part of an actual research project.

Purchase of equipment or consumables of urgent need, as the report put it, to be used in scientific studies outside of an actual project is not permitted, and thus the YÖK was found to be in violation, BirGün wrote.

The BAP budget was also used to provide financial aid for faculty members working on unrelated projects funded by other public bodies, like the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), which constitutes another violation. 

The report found that very few research projects that actually satisfy the requirements set in BAP’s bylaws were supported out of the budget, according to BirGün.

Further violations were noted in the report as construction of buildings, such as a laboratory for research on animal testing and a congress hall, were made to look like scientific research projects so they could use the BAP budget, the paper wrote.