The second round of 97 Bogazici student trials on charges of resistance to law enforcement and bringing guns to a peaceful protest was held in Istanbul on September 17, 2021. The protests in question were held in January 2021 to demonstrate the common dissent of the Bogazici University community from the top-down appointment of an outsider, Melih Bulu, as the university rector by President Erdogan. The judges decided to postpone the verdict to November 2021.
Bogazici Faculty protesting the rector appointment | Photo credit: Bianet
In the meantime, following the removal of Professor Bulu from the office by a presidential decree, his vice-president Naci Inci was appointed as rector by another presidential decree in August 2021, despite the dissenting vote of 95 percent of the faculty. The protests continue against Rector Inci’s appointment and the government's interference with institutional autonomy.
ESW condemns the Turkish government’s recurring attacks on academic freedom and the constitutional autonomy of higher education institutions in Turkey. The ongoing tensions in Turkey have had a profoundly unsettling effect on academic freedom and continue to pose a grave threat to higher education on a national scale. ESW urges the Turkish authorities to respect and guarantee the autonomy of higher education in Turkey and to implement the provisions and principles of human rights as specified in international conventions and treaties, and to drop any charges against the accused arising from their nonviolent exercise of the rights to expression, association, and assembly.