Boğaziçi students dismiss reconciliation, say gov’t will step back

Students at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University on Sunday vowed to continue protests over the appointment of a government loyalist rector, saying the government would be forced to back down against ongoing demonstrations.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has targeted the students and their families, the Boğaziçi Solidarity student group said in a statement it released, following Soylu's remarks that the families of 150 students involved in the weeks-long protest had been contacted in a bid to resolve the conflict.

Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University has been gripped by student unrest since Jan. 4. The protests were initially sparked by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to appoint Melih Bulu, a member of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) as rector, spilling over into other cities.

The government has cracked down on protesters, detaining hundreds of students, raiding homes, while criminalizing protesters and their supporters as “terrorists.’’

"The interior minister has gone beyond the Boğaziçi resistance, reaching our families,’’ the statement shared on Twitter said."Qualifying discourse that involves threats such as ‘don’t let your children’s future go to waste,’ as a notification, Soylu is targeting our families that defend our rights and support our struggle, and labelling them as ideological,’’ the statement said.

Soylu earlier this week said the families of Boğaziçi protesters who had spoken up against government intervention were "ideological.’’

"We have not taken a step back, nor will we,’’ Boğaziçi students said.

"We will continue our struggle until we attain our rightful demands. We will not reconcile, you will step back,’’ they added.

Students at the leading Turkish university have said their protest will continue until Bulu, the new Boğaziçi rector steps down, a move he has categorically rejected.