Turkey detains women protesting against gender-segregated universities

Turkish police on Tuesday detained a number of women protesting against gender segregated universities, an initiative of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, in capital Ankara, Duvar news site reported.

The group was detained after police prevented the protesters from issuing a statement at Ankara’s Kuğulu Park, the site said, ripping apart their posters, which said, “We don’t want all-women’s universities.’’

The University Women’s Collective, a popular feminist group, has called for the protesters to be released, noting that one of the detainees was a student from Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, where weeks-long protests over the appointment of a government-linked rector has made international headlines.

“You will not be able to silence the Boğaziçi resistance or women,’’ the group said. “We don’t want a government appointed rector or an all women’s univeristy.’’

Last year, Turkey began work for founding the country’s first all women’s university, whose board of trustees include the country’s first woman Education Minister, Nimet Baş.

The project follows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s announcement of the initiative in 2019, following his June visit for the G-20 summit to Japan, where he was inspired by the large number of universities allotted exclusively for female students.