After President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu, an academic outside its community, as the new rector of Boğaziçi University, it has sparked criticisms and protests among both students and academics. In capital city Ankara and other parts of Turkey there were actions in solidarity with the resistance of students of Boğaziçi University. There were also actions in their support in many cities across Europe. Meanwhile the fascist oligarchy responded with repressions against the resistance of the students. Below is the chronology of the major events in connection with the protests in the last 1 week.
January 5, 2020
-Detention warrant has been issued against 28 students, 17 of them were detained
It was reported that a detention warrant has been issued against 28 students who protested the appointment of Melih Bulu as the new rector(president) of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. Charges against the students are “violation of the Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” and “resisting the officer on duty”, 17 students have been reportedly detained. Police operations were carried out against 24 addresses in 13 districts in İstanbul. The students were taken into custody in these operations and the students were transferred to the Istanbul police department. On the same day, their detention period was extended with further 2 days.
-Faculty members protested at the campus
In response to these developments, the faculty members of Boğaziçi University met in front of the University President’s Office at the South Campus on January 5. Turning their backs to the building and applauding in protest, they read out the ethical principles of the academia.
“We don’t accept, we don’t give up,” said the faculty members and called on the authorities to release the detained students.
Addressing the students, Prof. Esra Mungan said, “We will not give up. We are enraged, but we feel much stronger. Either altogether, or none of us… This country cannot go on like this. The struggle will continue. If this country will see bright days, it will see them with you.”
January 6, 2020
-The police operations continued
It was later reported that five more people were detained on January 5. The police operations against students continued on the next day as 14 people were detained in operations against six different addresses by the İstanbul Police Department, in early morning hours on January 6. They are also reportedly facing the possible charges of “violating the Law 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” and “resisting the officer on duty,”
-‘State will show that it is the state’
Mehmet Ersoy, the Deputy Minister of Interior, has tweeted screenshots of old social media posts by one of the detained people and said, “You should have no doubt about this: The state will show that it is the state.”
-Melih Bulu waved from window, students demanded his resignation
All entrances to Boğaziçi University were reportedly closed. Moreover, contrary to what Prof. Bulu said yesterday on HaberTürk TV, police officers entered the campus of the university.
Melih Bulu also attended a live YouTube interview by journalist Cüneyt Özdemir today. Speaking to Özdemir, Bulu said, “As you see, I always lay claim to the children (students) protesting. But laying claim does not do; if they commit a crime, this has something.”
While Bulu got on the window of his office to wave, students who gathered in the South Campus were booing and calling on him to resign.
Students have been requesting that their detained friends must be released. In today’s protests as well, they were chanting the slogans, “Trustee university rector, resign” and “Trustees will go, we will stay.”
On the other side, answering the questions of Özdemir, Bulu said that he would go out on the campus after the broadcast and have tea and coffee with students. When Cüneyt Özdemir asked him, “Did you plan to wave,” Melih Bulu answered, “No, why should I? You determined the hour, I did not tell the students to come at this hour.”
-Protests continued despite the attacks and repressions of the fascist oligarchy
After the İstanbul Governor’s Office banned meetings, demonstrations and marches in Beşiktaş and Sarıyer districts(The European / western part of the city) amid Boğaziçi University students’ calls for protest at 2 p.m. on January 6, the Boğaziçi Solidarity changed the date and place of the protest against the appointed trustee.
In a message shared on Twitter, the Boğaziçi solidarity called on “all artists, academics, MPs and friends from other universities to come to Kadıköy Rıhtım(a square on the Asian / eastern shore of the city) at 4 p.m. to raise the struggle” together with them.
-Students marched from Beşiktaş to Kadıköy
After protesting the university president in front of his office and chanting the slogans “University president, resign” at the South Campus on January 6, the students marched from the campus to Beşiktaş.
While students were walking in groups, people in their cars expressed their support for the students by applauding them and sounding the horns of their cars. Students reached Beşiktaş district, chanting the slogan, Kurtuluş Yok Tek Başına, Ya Hep Beraber, Ya Hiç Birimiz! / “There is no salvation alone; either all together, or none of us.”/
Students crossed the Marmara Sea to go from Beşiktaş to Kadıköy by using ferries which are part of Istanbul’s public transportation system.
Police took some measures in Kadıköy, where the students had previously announced that they would hold their protest.
Students have successfully reached Kadıköy. Hundreds of students called on Melih Bulu to resign.
In the hands of students, there are banners that read, “Universities belong to us, they will be free with us”. Their banners also raised concerns about some detained students’ accounts that they were subjected to strip search under custody. The banners read, “There are 37 detained, there is strip search under custody.”
-‘Boğaziçi is not only about Boğaziçi’
Students have also made a statement for the press. Referring to what Melih Bulu said on a live TV program on HaberTürk(one of the pro-government media outlets in Turkey) yesterday, they have said,
“Contrary to what Melih Bulu said, we do not represent a minority of Boğaziçi University, we represent the very university.
We, as the constitutents of Boğaziçi Univeristy, are against the appointment of trustee university rector. We know that the trustee policies will affect all of us negatively. We will not get used to it, we will not accept it. This needs to be known that Boğaziçi is not solely about Boğaziçi. We are also here to express the demands of Bimeks workers resisting in front of Boğaziçi University and to express the demands of all laborers and the oppressed.”
January 7, 40 people in total were detained for protesting against the appointment of Melih Bulu as rector of Boğaziçi University
-Taken into custody for protesting the appointment of Melih Bulu as the new rector of Boğaziçi University 24 of the 40 detained people were released on January 7. After they gave testimonies at the Istanbul police department, 24 people were referred to the Courthouse in Çağlayan to give their testimonies at the prosecutor’s office. Of these 24 people, people were referred to the Penal Court with a request for their arrest. At the end of the day 23 people were released on probation; one person was released without restrictions.
-‘Resign if you have honor’: Boğaziçi students continues to protest new rector
Both students and academics protested the new rector in separate demonstrations. Academics gathered in front of the rector’s office, turning their back to the building. They stated they will do the same protest every day between 12 and 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, students gathered in front of the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan, demanding the release of their friends who have been detained during the one-week protests.
Reading out a statement, students said, “You can’t divide, scare and intimidate the youth with detentions, oppression, arrests … Our friends will be free, the trustee rectors will go.”
Afterward, students gathered in the university’s South Campus. Addressing rector Melih Bulu, they chanted, “Resign if you have honor.”
January 8, Erdoğan called Boğaziçi University protesters ‘terrorists’ as 15 more people were briefly detained
President Tayyip Erdoğan has defended his decision to appoint Melih Bulu, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party(AKP), as the rector of Boğaziçi University, which has sparked outrage among academics and students.
The appointment was in compliance with the laws and he deemed Bulu worthy of the job, the president told reporters after Friday prayers in İstanbul’s Üsküdar district.
As for the protests, he said, “Unfortunately, there are terrorists involved in these events and those who don’t have any relation with being a student.”
After the president’s remarks, the students who are continuing their protests at the university campus made a statement, rejecting his claims that they are terrorists.
January 9, The students were tortured under police custody!
Students who were released by the court the other day, told that they were subjected to strip search, threats of rape, harassment while they were handcuffed from the back. Students underlined that they will continue to fight against all pressures.
One of the students detained by the police, Ferhat Ergen said he was constantly subjected to violence while he was detained. Stating that he was forced to lie face down on the floor, handcuffed from the back for 2 hours while his house was being stormed, said: “They tried to strip search us at the police department. We were battered when we rejected the strip search and resisted.”
Underlining that they don’t have to be a student at the Boğaziçi to protest an appointed rector, Elif Uçarlı said the pro-government media has been distorting the facts. Drawing attention to the fact that the pro-government media have been pointing the students who are not Boğaziçi University students as targets, Uçarlı said: “When being pointed as targets, we saw that the houses of the students were raided a day later.”
Stating that she was insulted and threatened by the police during detention, one of the students said she was also threatened with death. Pointing out that she was sexually harassed during strip search, she said: “When they take us to the holding cell, some police officers came and threatened me with rape. AKP Gaziantep MP shared our photos on social media and declared us terrorists. They openly exposed us.”
Reminding that they wanted to defend their democratic rights, Kudret Çetinkaya said: “The government raided our homes and detained us, using torture. They tortured us on the way to the hospital and they tortured us at the police station. They tortured us one by one. The pressures can not intimidate us.”
-Police broke student’s leg in Boğaziçi University protests
It was learned that Revolutionary Youth Associations member Deniz Baran Erbudak’s leg was broken in Ankara, capital city of Turkey, where students protested the appointment of Melih Bulu as a rector to Boğaziçi University. Students who were tried to get to Kızılay Square in the center of the capital city, were stopped and attacked by the police who used the pandemic as an excuse, and 43 students were detained.
Stating that more than once police officers stepped on his knee while taking him in custody, Erbudak said: “I felt my lef broke when they first stepped on my knee, but then more than one police officers started trampling me. They took me to Gazi Mustafa Kemal State Hospital where the doctor said I was fine without even looking at me.
Stating that he was later taken to 29 Mayıs State Hospital and he learned that his leg was broken in two places and his cruciate ligament was ruptured, Erbudak said he might be having a surgery in the upcoming days.
Stating that he was kept in the hospital for a long time, Erbudak shared the information that the police released him after processing him for opposing law no 2911. Erbudak will file a criminal complaint against the police officers who broke his leg.
43 students were taken into custody being battered by the police in Kızılay and Yüzüncüyıl neighborhoods during the day. The students were battered and tortured under custody, some threatened with rape.