Police Fire Tear Gas, Plastic Bullets at Boğaziçi University Students in Kadıköy, İstanbul

The protests against Prof. Melih Bulu, the appointed rector of Boğaziçi University, are still going on today (February 2). Police have intervened against the students with pepper gas and plastic bullets in Kadıköy, taking several of them into custody. The people of Kadıköy have denounced the police intervention, saying, “Leave our children alone.”

As of 8 p.m. today, 43 people were held in the Kadıköy Rıhtım Police Station, while 77 people kept waiting in police vehicles were made to set out for their medical examinations. These people would be reportedly first examined in hospitals of Sarıyer, Bayrampaşa and Haseki and then taken to the İstanbul Security Directorate on Vatan Aveune in Fatih district.

Attorney Doğan: Psychological pressure

Making a statement in front of the Kadıköy Rıhtım Police Station, attorney Gülden Doğan has said that the detentions violate the Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Indicating that the detained people are taken from Kadıköy in the Anatolian side of İstanbul to the İstanbul Security Directorate in Fatih in the European side, Doğan has noted that this practice is unlawful as well. She has said that if a person is to be detained, it needs to take place wherever he or she protested, adding that what is done is psychological pressure.

The Boğaziçi Solidarity platform previously made a call to gather in Kadıköy Rıhtım at 6 p.m. today to protest the police violence at the South Campus and the detention of 159 students yesterday.

CLICK – Boğaziçi protests: Governor’s Office bans demonstrations

Students prevented from reaching Kadıköy

The police also prevented students from crossing the Marmara Sea from Beşiktaş to Kadıköy district on the Asian side. The bags of those who wanted to come to Kadıköy were searched by the police and the ones who refused the search were not allowed to get on the ferry.

On the other side, the Boğaziçi Solidarity platform shared a video on social media and announced that “the students waiting at the bus stop across their campus were being detained for no reason.” It was also reported that the busses were stopped by the police in Rumelihisarüstü and the students were made to undergo a criminal record check.

Checking the IDs of students before they got on the Beşiktaş-Kadıköy ferry, the police did not allow the Boğaziçi University students to embark.

Pepper gas, plastic bullets in Rıhtım

Police fired pepper gas and plastic bullets at the students who could gather in Kadıköy Rıhtım at 6 p.m. Students responded with slogans.

While MPs Ahmet Şık and Barış Atay were also in Kadıköy for support, citizens also denounced the police attack by banging pots and pans.

In the meantine, police officers set up barricades all across Kadıköy, trying to control the protests with helicopters.

What happened?

Prof. Melih Bulu has been appointed as the President of Boğaziçi University in a Presidential Decree issued on January 1. The appointment of Bulu has sparked harsh criticisms among both the students and academics of the university as well as in the academic community.

Appointed to Boğaziçi, one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey, from outside its community, Bulu was a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections in 2015 for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The students and several students’ clubs of the university have been campaigning on social media under the hashtag #kayyımrektöristemiyoruz (We don’t want a trustee university president).

The call of the students was also supported by the faculty members of the university, who released a joint statement on January 3.

“An academic outside Bogazici University community was appointed as rector (university president), which is a practice introduced for the first time after the 1980s military tutelage,” read their statement.

Amid harsh criticisms of students and faculty members, Prof. Bulu has shared a message on his Twitter account, welcoming his appointment to the position, saying, “We are all in the same boat.”

The students protested the appointment of Bulu in front of the South Campus of the university in İstanbul on January 4. However, the police intervened into the protest with pepper gas and plastic bullets.

Next day, it was reported that there were detention warrants against 28 people for “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations” and “resisting the officer on duty.” Later in the day, 22 of them were detained.

40 people in total were detained over the protests. All of the detained were released on January 7 and 8, 2021.

The protests of students and faculty members at the South Campus of Boğaziçi University have been going on since January 4.

On February 1, police stormed the South Campus and intervened into the students’ protests. Earlier in the day, the students gathered in front of the campus for the protest. Police hindered the protest while also preventing the students inside the South Campus from joining their friends outside.

With the 51 students taken into custody inside the campus in the evening, the number of detained increased to 159. In a statement released by the İstanbul Governor’s Office in the early morning hours on February 2, it was announced that 98 students were released from detention.

About Melih Bulu

Prof. Melih Bulu was appointed as the President of Haliç University on January 17, 2020. In office in this foundation university for less than a year, he has been appointed as the President of Boğaziçi University.

He was a Dean and University President at the İstinye University from 2016 to 2019. Between the years of 2010 and 2016, he was the Head of the Business Management Department of İstanbul Şehir University’s Business Management and Management Science Faculty.

He was the General Coordinator of International Competitiveness Research Institute (URAK), an NGO working on economic competitiveness of cities and countries, from the year 2017 to 2019. Since 2011, he has been the Executive Board member of the İstanbul Electric-Electronic Machinery and Informatics Exporters R&D Market.

In 2002, he founded the Sarıyer District Organization of the ruling AKP in İstanbul. In 2015, he was a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections from the AKP in the first election district in İstanbul.

He studied Industrial Engineering at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara in 1992. He did his MBA and PhD at Boğaziçi University’s Department of Management.

Source: https://bianet.org/english/human-rights/238596-police-fire-tear-gas-plastic-bullets-at-bogazici-university-students-in-kadikoy

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