Friday, January 8, 2021

Solidarity with the students in Istanbul's Bogazici University — Statement by the Communist Youth of Turkey

Once again, the reactionary regime of Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey has shown its repressive and authoritarian face. This time, the target of police violence are the students of Boğaziçi University who protest against the appointment of Melih Bulu, known for his close ties to the ruling party AKP, as the new rector of the institution. 

Melih Bulu has held various managerial positions within the AKP since 2002. He was a mayoral candidate in 2009 as well as a candidate for parliamentary deputy position from the AKP in the 2015 elections. 

It is the first time in the history of Boğaziçi University that the rector is not an elected member of the academic community, but is appointed directly by the government. This decision has stirred strong criticism among the university students as well as among members of the academic staff.

“The AKP, which handed over local governments to trustees step by step, continues to appoint universities on its own mind. The person appointed as the rector of Boğaziçi University clearly shows what the government understands from education", said Kemal Okuyan, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP).

Stating that it is legitimate to oppose the AKP’s decision, Okuyan pointed out that “it is extremely natural and legitimate for students and academics to oppose the AKP, which tries to complete universities with ignorance, hostility to science, and a merchant mentality. It is the suppression of illegitimate protests by means of the police. AKP will submit to its arbitrariness and trustee rule“.

Following a student's demonstration on Monday 4 January, police responded with violence and proceeded even to home raids in order to arrest the protesters. At least 17 students were detained, and search warrants for 11 other students were issued, soL news portal reported.

In a statement regarding the detainment of 17 students, lawyer Ezgi Önalan said: "They were faced with the imposition of a naked search in the morning. While detained, there are those who have their phones seized, there are those who have been battered, there are batter reports."

"17 people are being held, there are other people with a search warrant, a total of 28 people,” Önalan pointed out regarding the allegations. “There are allegations of resisting the police. We know that this operation is unnecessary and unlawful”.

Statement by the Communist Youth of Turkey (TKG)

In a statement concerning the events in Boğaziçi University and the violent intervention of police forces against the protesting students, the Communist Youth of Turkey (TKG) points out:

What happened in recent days reminded us that: Political power in Turkey, no matter how much they push, cannot cross the line. Students of the Boğaziçi University reminded AKP of that line again.

AKP, which occupied the parliament, unions, and even the opposition parties with its mentality, again hit a wall at the university. We would like to remind Boğaziçi University students and all our citizens that they will try to disband the wall as they could not pierce it.

This is why they claimed it was "not political" decision to appoint a party militant to the head of the university. After no one believed this nonsense, the activists were labeled as terrorists. But this label can no longer go beyond satisfying a few fascists.

Who can convince AKP? Families who they declared terrorists the day before, the miners that they dragged on the ground to avoid harm to the bosses, or tens of thousands that they couldn't silence after the murdered women?

Whatever labels the AKP and its militants try to put on, in Turkey, this is the only legitimate and strong front. Our friends who were detained in a house raid at night, are the ones they want to intimidate. You must have already understood that neither the universities nor the country will surrender to your stick of fear.

Immediately release our detained friends! Neither Boğaziçi University will be a company, nor the AKP official will be the rector!