9 Boğaziçi University students sent to jail for protesting Turkey’s Afrin operation

Nine students from İstanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University were arrested by an İstanbul court on Tuesday and put in pretrial detention while six others were released pending trial after participating in protests against Turkey’s Afrin operation, according to a report by online news outlet T24.

On March 19, a group of students protested other students who had set up a stand on the Boğaziçi University campus to distribute Turkish delight in memory of Turkish soldiers killed during the Turkish military’s operation in Afrin, Syria. Police identified 17 of the protestors and detained 15 of them.

Detentions came only a day after  autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 20 that the government will “clean communist and terrorist students” out of Turkish universities. Describing the youths who had set up stands for slain soldiers as “believers, local and national,” Erdoğan slammed the protestors, calling them “communists, traitors and terrorists.”

“Those are terrorist youths. We will conduct investigations into them. After identifying them, we will not let them get an education at the universities because a university is not a place for educating terrorist youths. A university educates the generation who will serve their country and nation,” Erdoğan said during a speech at his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) congress at Yaşar Doğu Sport Hall in the Tekkeköy district of Samsun.

Erdoğan in January said Boğaziçi University had failed to become a global brand because it “does not rely on national values.”

More than 1,250 renowned international academics from around the world had signed an open letter of support for the students from Boğaziçi University. The letter, which was penned by the Academic Solidarity Network, asked the Turkish government for the immediate release of the students, saying the arrests on campus as well as subsequent police raids of student homes and dormitories continue a disturbing trend of criminalizing political speech and dissent in Turkey. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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