Turkish court arrests one more Boğaziçi University student and sends him to jail

Another Boğaziçi University student has been arrested by a Turkish court and sent to pretrial detention at İstanbul’s Silivri Prison, increasing the number of Boğaziçi students under arrest to 14.

According to a report by Bianet on Friday, the student, from the department of sociology, was detained at the school gate on May 5 and was held in detention at İstanbul’s Vatan Police Station until he was sent to the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan after his deposition was taken. The local court decided to arrest the student on charges of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” and sent him to Silivri Prison.

With this latest verdict, the number of students in pretrial detention in Silivri Prison has increased to 10. Four female students are being held at the Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison.

On March 19 a group of students opened a stand giving out Turkish delight on the north campus of Boğaziçi University following the death of 46 soldiers in Syria’s Afrin province. A group of anti-war students protested by unfurling a banner that read “Invasion, massacre cannot be marked with Turkish delight.” A quarrel ensued between the two groups and the stand was reportedly attacked.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) youth branch on March 20 protested the attack on the stand. The students were described as “terrorists” in a press statement.

In its statement, the Boğaziçi University presidency said: “We find the attack carried out on the stand unacceptable, like any patriot would. Security forces intervened in the aforementioned demonstrations that were held without the approval of the university administration. The necessary investigations and disciplinary procedures have been launched into this hostile demonstration.”

The Higher Education Board (YÖK) said in a statement: “In order to avoid such incidents causing public indignation, necessary precautions including amendments to the regulations will be accomplished by means of negotiation. This process has commenced.”

Five anti-war students were detained by police during home and dormitory raids on March 22. In protest of the detentions, students released a statement on social media calling for a rally on the north campus. “The detention of students who weren’t even on the campus at the time of the incident is proof that the attack has been turned into a witch hunt by the government to suppress opposition at the university.”

Prior to the time of the rally, counterterrorism teams entered the campus and detained seven students, dragging them on the ground. Taken to the Gayrettepe Police Department and detained there, the students were released later the same day.

On March 24 Erdoğan called the students “communist, traitor terrorist youngsters,” adding, “We will not grant those youngsters the right to an education at a university.”

On March 25, the police raided student dormitories and houses. After the raids, three more Boğaziçi University students, who are also members of the Marxist Thought Community, were taken into custody.

On March 26, three other students were detained after their houses and dormitories were raided by police.

On March 31, two more students from Boğaziçi University were detained.

On April 2, another student was taken into custody by plainclothes police officers at the entrance to the south campus of the university. The number of detained students increased to 16 with this detention.

On April 4, nine of 16 detained Boğaziçi University students were arrested on charges of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.” While another student was still in custody as the legal proceedings against him had not yet been finalized, one more student, who had initiated a letter campaign for the arrested Boğaziçi University students and was also a member of the Marxist Thought Community (MFT), was taken into custody. One of the detained students was arrested and the other was released on probation.

On May 10, another student from the department of sociology was arrested. Fourteen Boğaziçi University students have been arrested so far during the investigation.

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