Mar 26 2018

Police double down on student detentions at elite Turkish university

Three students accused of participating in an anti-war protest were detained at one of Turkey's top universities on Monday, while another voluntarily went to the police to testify due to an arrest warrant, a student told left wing web-site sendika.org.

The sendika web-site reported that a student who had previously been detained and released met the Chancellor of the University on Monday to discuss the detentions. 

A quarrel broke out on Mar. 19 at İstanbul's Boğaziçi University between pro-government students celebrating the recent Turkish victory in Afrin, northwest Syria, and another anti-war group protesting them. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded with harsh criticism of the anti-war protesters, saying during a speech on Saturday, “those who can not tolerate an event in one of our universities commemorating our martyrs do not belong either to our country or to our nation”. 

Erdoğan called the students “traitors” and “communists” and added that his government would not allow them the right to study. “The professors in that University should also be careful. We will do what is appropriate, if we find out that the professors of that university are affiliated to those students,” he added.

Police have been detaining students that participated the anti-war protest since Mar. 19. On Sunday, police units raided homes and dormitories to detain three Boğaziçi students. 

A group of students from the Department of Political Science and International Relations responded today to President Erdoğan, saying in a statement read at the university, “opposing the government’s security policies is not terrorism propoganda”. 

On Sunday, the European Parliament's Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri posted a tweet in reaction to the detentions, criticising what she characterised as an attack on critical thinking.

Some pointed out the silence of the University’s teaching staff on social media. “They want to keep Boğaziçi University on the agenda, so that students, graduates and teachers will keep engaging in these debates to be crushed piece by piece, and professors who try to maintain their position by speaking out can be rapidly sacked,” wrote one academic on twitter.