Turkish police have detained 45 students from İstanbul’s Boğaziçi University for attempting to set up what they call a “resistance tent” in front of the rector’s office on the south campus, shortly after a similar tent was taken down by security officers, local media reported on Friday.
Protests are continuing at the university against current rector Naci İnci, who was appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan despite a 95 percent disapproval rating he received in polls held among the university community to determine possible rector candidates.
Riot police on Friday detained 45 students following a verbal altercation between academics and students and the officers regarding attempts to again put up a tent symbolizing their resistance, after it was taken down by university security.
Boğaziçi Direnişi, a student platform for the university, announced late on Friday on social media that 42 of the students were released after a brief detention while the remaining three were expected to testify to a prosecutor.
Assistant Professor at Boğaziçi University Tolga Sütlü also stated in a series of tweets on Friday that the students had been detained by police regardless of their efforts to reach a compromise with the officers.
“Today, I witnessed how they tried to marginalize and suppress Boğaziçi University students with the cooperation of the rectorate, private security [of the university] and the police,” Sütlü said.
A prolonged series of protests broke out at the university after Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu, a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Sarıyer district branch and former deputy chairman of the AKP’s İstanbul provincial chapter, as rector in early January.
They argued that the move was a part of Erdoğan’s broader effort to centralize control over universities and that it undercuts academic freedoms and democracy.
Since early 2021 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 youth-driven protests.
Shortly after Bulu’s dismissal with a presidential decree in July, the university community demanded that a democratic election be held at the university to elect a new rector, adding that they would not accept the appointment of a new rector to replace Bulu, either from within or without the university, since they oppose the appointment of rectors by Erdoğan.
However, Erdoğan on August 20 appointed İnci, a former deputy to Bulu, as the new rector, again prompting outrage among academics and students.