Saturday, September 18, 2021

14 detained as Istanbul varsity students plan new protests

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Turkish authorities detained 14 more people on Wednesday in connection with students protests at Istanbul’s Bogazici University, bringing the total number to 36, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Footage by private news agency Demiroren showed special police units forcing open doors and entering the homes of suspects, some of whom were then handcuffed and escorted to police cars.

Students have been protesting since Monday against President Recep Erdogan’s appointment of a new rector at Bogazici, rejecting the appointment as undemocratic and an attempt to curb academic freedom.

On Wednesday, Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya announced a ban on “all kinds of meetings, demonstrations and marches” in an area covering Bogazici campus on the city’s European side, citing measures against the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

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But students defied the ban and were protesting in front of the rector’s office on campus.

Organisers also called on a rally to be held on the Asian side of Istanbul.

The students are demanding the right to elect their own rector and the release of those detained.

Erdogan appointed the new rector Melih Bulu, who ran as a candidate for parliament from Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, in 2015, on Saturday.

Since Turkey switched to the executive presidential system in July 2018, Erdogan has the sole authority to appoint rectors at state-run universities.

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