Turkish prosecutors seek jail terms for 97 over Boğaziçi protests

Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday called for jail terms ranging from six months to three years for 97 people who joined student protests over a government loyalist rector at Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University, OdaTV news site reported.

The suspects are accused in the indictment of defying a ban on rallies, imposed as part of COVID-19 pandemic measures and refusing to disperse despite warnings violating Law No. 2911 on assemblies and demonstrations, it said. 

Protests at Boğaziçi University began on Jan. 4, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu, former district official with his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as rector to the university, in a move that went against the traditions of one of the oldest universities in the country.

The protests laterspread through the city and rest of the country, resulting in a police crackdown, which saw hundreds of students detained, their homes raided, and their supporters denounced as “terrorists” by government officials. 

A total of 108 people who were detained over the protests have been released after providing a statement, Oda TV cited the indictment as saying, while the files of 10 suspects have been separated.

The indictment also includes statements from the detainees, who deny the charges against them and accuse police of using force, it said.