Four Boğaziçi University students were detained today for issuing a call on social media for the release of friends who were taken into custody for protesting the appointment of a professor who was not a staff member as rector.
According to a report by the Bianet news website, the students were taken to the cybercrimes investigation unit of the İstanbul police this morning and released after interrogation. They are accused of inciting the public.
Their lawyer, Ali Gül, said the students shared information about the protests on the social media app Clubhouse. “Their [the police and prosecutor] aim is to intimidate the students to stop them from sharing calls to protest,” Gül added.
Boğaziçi University students as well as academics have been demonstrating for weeks in protest of the appointment of a pro-government rector by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Protests against the latest detentions at the university have spread to other big cities such as Ankara and İzmir. Images of policemen pushing students to the ground as they detain them in Ankara have been circulating on social media.
Critics slammed the appointment of Professor Melih Bulu, saying he was unqualified for the job and that a state-appointed rector harmed the independence of the university. There have also been credible claims that Bulu plagiarized his master’s and Ph.D. theses. Following the allegations, the higher education council closed Bulu’s theses to online access.