Boğaziçi University: raids, resignations, invitation to the Palace

The protests that started with appointment of a trustee rector by the AKP chair & President Erdoğan to one of Turkey’s most prestigious educational institutes, Boğaziçi University continued on the fourth day and is scheduled for more protests on the fifth day. Detained protestors were brought to court and 24 of the 40 were released. Boğaziçi Solidarity announced there will be held continuous protests until the trustee rector resigns while an invitation to the Presidential Palace was brought in media.

Since the early hours of the new year on January 1, Boğaziçi University students, academics and alumni have been actively protesting online and offline. The protests have continued on the fourth day and calls for protests in multiple cities have been brought up by the alumni networks and other universities. Campus professors held a protest again in front of the Rectorate Hall on South Campus, announcing that on a daily basis they will continue protesting.

TOTAL DETENTIONS: 40

Following the protests on Monday and Wednesday, police had raided dozens of apartments and total number of detentions had increased to 40. Following completion of health controls, 24 protestors that were detained on the second day with dawn raids in their apartments, were brought to the prosecutor’s office at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse where they testified. 22 of the protestors were released initially with weekly judicial controls while the two LGBTI+ activist students were sent to court with arrest warrants. However the two LGBTI+ activist students were also released from police custody with judicial control orders.

Boğaziçi University student Burak Çetiner announced upon release from Çağlayan Courthouse, “we were beaten while brought to health controls; police conducted maltreatment and strip-search against students” adding that “there was beating at all processes; when the doctors during health control wanted to take visual proof of the beating and bruises on our bodies, police grabbed the doctor’s phone as well” revealing police intervention into health processes too.

Student Çetiner asked members of the press to reach the camera records from the corridors of the police precinct where he stated the detained students were beaten by the police.

RESIGNATIONS AT THE RECTORATE HALL

Following appointment of trustee rector, Boğaziçi University’s Rectorate Advisor Prof. Dr. Zafer Yenal resigned from his duties at the management upon appointment of trustee rector Melih Bulu. Following Prof. Dr. Yenal’s resignation, the university publishing house’s president of Publications Committee Murat Gülsoy also resigned from his duty, announcing “as this posititon requires extended periods of working time with the rector, I decided to resign but remain in the university as an academic.”

UNIVERSITY PROTESTS SPREADING

So far, in the provinces of Ankara, İzmir, Tunceli, Adana, Antalya, Denizli and outside of Turkey in Dubai there have been held protests by Boğaziçi University alumni and students of other universities. As the government ministers continue to target the Boğaziçi University protests, more social platforms join in with the protests.

Government’s fears of a new wave of mass protests similar to Gezi Park protests of 2013, have been brought up by the Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu who threatened any attempts at peaceful protest by saying “they would be crushed on the streets. The police were right in their interventions, the people attempting to enter the university are not students but pepole who are connected to terrorist networks. Should the police have allowed those chanting ‘murderer police’ through the gates? Should campuses be handed over to those singing terrorist anthems [referring to Ruhi Su’s song from 1960s]? We will never tolerate such actions, we have the nation’s support, we are decorated with the powers that laws give us.”

“You are appointed trustee, ‘and Nothing Else Matters” in reference to Dr. Bulu’s statement that he listens to Metallica.

INVITATION TO THE PALACE

While Minister of Interior attempted to criminalize the students for protesting against anti-democratic appointment of rector bypassing the 158 year long tradition of having rectors being elected from its body, a claim has been brought up regarding an invitation to the Presidential Palace for Boğaziçi University students.

At the student forums, a message was published stating that pro-AKP youth movement TÜRGEV contacted some of the protesting students inviting them for a meeting with a high level Presidential Bureaucrat. In the message it was stated that there will be students that TÜRGEV picked and they needed students who are critical of the appointment of a trustee rector to discuss the situation.

Protesting groups objected to the meeting invitation for the Palace, stating that the problem is already about intervention into the campus management from outside and solution will be brought up on campus, also rejecting TÜRGEV’s attempt at negotiation mediator -as a pro-AKP partisan organization.

POLICE STILL ON CAMPUS

While government-appointed trustee rector Melih Bulu continues to deny that police is on campus, students keep taking photos and videos of police officers and vehicles roaming on the university’s South Campus. Multiple students also announced that while they were preparing for protest, a civilian-looking man approached and grabbed their banner, looking at what is written on the banners and gave back. This raised suspicion among students that undercover police were deployed to the campus to mingle with students, which poses risks regarding continuation of the protests as several students name concerns that these unknown people on campus might attempt to divert the spirit of Boğaziçi University protests.