As protests against the illegitimate rector appointment continue in Istanbul, the tension between the Turkish government and Bogazici University students and faculty intensifies. In their public statements and social media posts, President Erdogan and his coalition allies, as well as Rector Inci, recurrently target and label the student protesters and resistant faculty as terrorists, selfish elites, and enemies of the common good.
Photo credit: Bianet
On October 5, 2021, two Bogazici students were arrested while three others were released under probation for attending a public gathering in protest of the appointment of Professor Inci as rector. According to the statement from Bogazici Solidarity Network, the arrests took place following Rector Inci’s petition to the prosecutor’s office. Following the arrests, on October 7, the Bogazici student community announced an impromptu protest at the main gate of the South Campus. The police immediately intervened and stopped the march before they could enter the campus and read their statement, and detained at least 14 student protesters. Four of the detained students were released after the court hearing under judicial control and international travel restrictions.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide (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 negative 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.