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Student indicted over support for Boğaziçi protests on social media

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An İstanbul court has accepted the indictment of student Beyza Buldağ for expressing support for protests sparked by the appointment of a pro-government rector to İstanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University, Turkish media reported on Friday.

The indictment, which was accepted by the İstanbul 15th Criminal Court of First Instance, accuses Buldağ of “inciting hatred and enmity in the public” and “provoking criminal activity” due to 20 posts shared by the Boğaziçi Solidarity Twitter account that she allegedly managed.

The date of her first hearing has not been announced.

Buldağ, who had been arrested on Feb. 7, was released pending trial on Feb. 12.

Since early January, Boğaziçi students and alumni, along with students of other universities and politicians and activists, have protested the appointment of Melih Bulu, a long-time member of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as rector of the university, arguing that it undercut academic freedoms and democracy.

Hundreds demanding the resignation of Bulu and the appointment of a rector from the university staff after the holding of an election have been detained for participating in the protests that have echoes of the Gezi Park protests, which erupted in 2013 against plans to demolish a park in İstanbul’s Taksim neighborhood before spreading nationally and presenting a direct challenge to Erdoğan’s rule.

According to a recent report released by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), more than 800 people demonstrating against Bulu’s appointment were subjected to ill-treatment by police officers who carried out their detention in 38 provinces.

Sixty protesters shared their experiences of battery, sexual harassment, threats and insults while being put in police vehicles and held in detention centers, TİHV said.

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