Two students have been jailed due to their messages on social media in support of protests sparked by the appointment of a pro-government rector to İstanbul’s Boğaziçi University, bringing the number of students arrested since the beginning of the protests to eight, according to Turkish media reports.
Students Beyza Buldağ and Muhammed Ünal, who is also a member of the youth council of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were detained in police operations on Sunday and were subsequently arrested in İzmir and İstanbul, respectively.
They are accused of engaging in provocations and insulting the president in their social media posts on the Boğaziçi protests.
The protests have been ongoing since the beginning of January against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to appoint Melih Bulu, an unsuccessful candidate from Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for a seat in parliament, as the university’s rector. The students are demanding the appointment of a rector from the university staff after the holding of an election.
More than 300 students have been detained for taking part in the protests, although many of them have been released. With the latest arrests, the number of protestors who have been arrested has risen to eight.
The appointment of the rector created a stir because students saw it as part of Erdoğan’s broader effort to centralize control over most facets of Turks’ daily lives.
Erdoğan has been comparing the protesters to “terrorists” as the movement threatens to grow into a serious challenge to his 18 years in power.