Boğaziçi University students continue protesting against government appointed trustee rector Melih Bulu

Following appointment of pro-AKP trustee rector Dr. Melih Bulu as rector of Boğaziçi University, the students’ & academics’ reactions continue against anti-democratic cancellation of elections in academia and appointment of rectors. On day 3 of the protests, another dawn raid took place targeting students & other protestors, total number of detentions increased to 36. Police deployment on campus continues as students make calls for more protests.

In the first hours of the new year on January 1, Dr. Melih Bulu -the rector of Istanbul’s Haliç University- was appointed as trustee rector by AKP chair & President Erdoğan in disregard of Boğaziçi University’s 158 year-long tradition of electing its rectors from its governance body. The appointment had led to widespread reactions during the 4-day new year’s curfew, which was followed by the biggest mass campus protest in Turkey in the past year.

PROFESSORS TURN THEIR BACK ON THE APPOINTED RECTOR

Boğaziçi University’s professors gathered around the Rectorate Hall and turned their backs to the new appointed trustee rector during handover ceremony. Professors also continued to chant slogans, demanding immediate release of their students from police detention. The academics’ protest was followed by a larger protest with participation of the students on the university’s South Campus. In the meantime, police continued deploying more officers and barricades in and around the campus.

After today’s dawn raids targeting the students, total number of detainees increased to 36.

Boğaziçi University students and LGBTI+ activists Yıldız İdil Şen and Havin Özcan who got detained in dawn raids, announced that they were threatened with sexual assault, furthermore student Roni Gören was subjected to strip search in detention.

“THERE IS NO POLICE ON CAMPUS”

Appointed trustee rector Dr. Bulu joined Habertürk’s TV program and claimed “there is no police officers on our campus; they are waiting outside to make sure not everyone gets in. Only the students showing their ID cards can pass the police control, otherwise it would be chaos on campus.

Dr. Bulu also joined Cüneyt Özdemir’s live broadcast on Youtube where he again claimed “there is no police officer on campus as far as I know and the protesting students can continue their protest so long as they can provide a valid university ID” while the students continued protesting outside the Rectorate Hall and shouted “police is on campus at the moment.”

APPOINTED TRUSTEE RECTOR’S INTERVIEWS

During the TV interviews Dr. Bulu, said “those who are detained are not students, they are members of certain organizations. We received information that a couple of them were Boğaziçi students and we will look into it. But I had not foreseen any such provocation.”
Regarding the claims of plagiarism Dr. Bulu said “these are all false accusations, when I had published my dissertation, the rules of quotations were being changed I simply did not use quotation marks everywhere” although the plagiarism allegations cite paragraphs of copy/pasted text in his academic works.

HANDCUFFED CAMPUS

As for the handcuffs placed on the gates of Boğaziçi University, appointed trustee rector Bulu said “the gate lock is broken, and officers found a practical solution to keep non-Boğaziçi protestors out.” An investigation was launched against the handcuffing of the university gate.

“HARD ROCK RECTOR”

Dr. Bulu was asked whether or not he would intervene with Boğaziçi University’s culture to which he responded “I listen to hard rock, I am a fan of Metallica and I continue to listen as a rector… I am familiar with Boğaziçi University culture, I am of this place.”

CALLS FOR PROTEST

Boğaziçi University’s students and academics called for mass protests on campus and at the South Campus gate for January 6, at 14.00 hours. Simultaneously Middle East Technical University students in Ankara also made a call for Solidarity Protest at METU/ODTU’s Rectorate Hall at the same time in Ankara. Boğaziçi University Alumni based in Ankara also announced that a secondary solidarity protest would take place in Ankara, at the Anıtpark by founder of the republic, Atatürk’s Mausoleum.

PROTESTS BANNED

Istanbul Governorship banned all meetings, gatherings and protests in Beşiktaş and Sarıyer districts ahead of Boğaziçi Universty’s planned protests on campus. Heavy police presence was spotted around the campus as students complained that they were even unable to stand on the road. The calls for protest were rescheduled for 16.00 at Kadıköy’s piers square.

PRO-GOVERNMENT MEDIA’S MANIPULATION

Main opposition CHP’s vice-chair Gökçe Gökçen had participated in live TV program on the Boğaziçi University protests where she had uttered the words “if the government continues its policies like this, of course protests will grow.” Her words were manipulated and distorted in an unauthorised broadcast of dokuz8TV’s footage on pro-AKP A Haber and Yeni Şafak, which was later used by former AKP Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gökçek with the note “she says ‘we are unable to defeat Erdoğan democratically, so we will stir the streets like #OccupyGezi.’ But Turkey is not the Gülen’s Turkey of Gezi time, this time you would drown in your own spit. Beware of what you say, you will end up in prison” threatening the young politician.