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Students detained for protesting new president of Boğaziçi University

Students detained for protesting new president of Boğaziçi University
06.01.2021
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The state-run AA has reported that a detention warrant has been issued against 28 students who protested the appointment of Prof. Bulu as the new President of Boğaziçi University. 17 students are currently detained.

The students who protested the appointment of Prof. Melih Bulu as the new President of Boğaziçi University have been taken into custody.

Appointed by President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on January 1, Prof. Melih Bulu, an academic outside Boğaziçi’s community, was also a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections for Erdoğan’s AKP in 2015. This appointment has caused an outrage among both the students and academics.

While several students proseted this appointment in front of the South Campus yesterday (January 4), which was met by police intervention with pepper gas and plastic bullets, Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Spokesperson İsmail Çataklı has made a statement about the issue. 

Indicating that “only two of the 17 detained people are students of Boğaziçi University,” Spokesperson Çataklı has said, “We saw that there were shouts of ‘murderer police’ and that the police were kicked.” 

He has added that “the necessary will be done about it.”

Kaftancıoğlu: They are all students

Supporting yesterday’s protest, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul Chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu has, on Twitter, mentioned the statement of the Governor’s Office of İstanbul, which said that “four of the detained students were from Boğaziçi University.”

Kaftancıoğlu has said that “two detained students are from Boğaziçi, while 14 of the detained are from Marmara, Mimar Sinan and İstanbul Universities and one person is a student of open high school.”

2-day detention period

Speaking to bianet about the issue, attorney Çağan Yazıcı has also indicated that a 2-day detention warrant has been in place for 17 people, who are currently held in detention in the security directorate.

Faculty members protest 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 today. 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.”

* Photo: Boğaziçi Solidarity

In a statement earlier today, the Student Collectives have announced that the students have been detained: “The students protesting the trustee at Boğaziçi have been detained in house raids in early morning hours today. Several university students, including four from the Student Collectives, are in detention. The police are estimated to have a long list.

As reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA), a detention warrant has been issued against 28 students protesting at the school yesterday.

While the students are now facing the possible charges of “violating the Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” and “resisting the officer on duty”, 17 students have been reportedly detained.

In a statement released by the İstanbul Security Directorate, operations were carried out against 24 addresses in 13 districts in İstanbul, the students were taken into custody in these operations and the related procedures are still ongoing at the security directorate.

What happened?

Prof. Melih Bulu has been appointed as the President of Boğaziçi University in a Presidential Decree issued on January 1. The appointment of Bulu has sparked harsh criticisms among both the students and academics of the university as well as in the academic community.

Appointed to Boğaziçi, one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey, from outside its community, Bulu was a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections in 2015 for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The students and several students’ clubs of the university have been campaigning on social media under the hashtag #kayyımrektöristemiyoruz (We don’t want a trustee university president).

The call of the students has also been supported by the academics from the university, who released a joint statement on January 3.

“An academic outside Bogazici University community was appointed as rector (university president), which is a practice introduced for the first time after the 1980s military tutelage,” read their statement.

Amid harsh criticisms of students and faculty members, Prof. Bulu has shared a message on his Twitter account, welcoming his appointment to the position, saying, “We are all in the same boat.”

The students protested the appointment of Bulu in front of the South Campus of the university in İstanbul on January 4. However, the police intervened into the protest with pepper gas and plastic bullets.

About Melih Bulu

Prof. Melih Bulu was appointed as the President of Haliç University on January 17, 2020. In office in this foundation university for less than a year, he has been appointed as the President of Boğaziçi University.

He was a Dean and University President at the İstinye University from 2016 to 2019. Between the years of 2010 and 2016, he was the Head of the Business Management Department of İstanbul Şehir University’s Business Management and Management Science Faculty.

He was the General Coordinator of International Competitiveness Research Institute (URAK), an NGO working on economic competitiveness of cities and countries, from the year 2017 to 2019. Since 2011, he has been the Executive Board member of the İstanbul Electric-Electronic Machinery and Informatics Exporters R&D Market.

In 2002, he founded the Sarıyer District Organization of the ruling AKP in İstanbul. In 2015, he was a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections from the AKP in the first election district in İstanbul.

He studied Industrial Engineering at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara in 1992. He did his MBA and PhD at Boğaziçi University’s Department of Management. (DŞ/SD) /Bianet

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