'We will not shut up': Turkey's students rage over Erdogan-appointed trustee

ANKARA, (ST)_The Turkish regime has carried out a new security campaign against the students of Boğaziçi University, who are protesting about the appointment of Melih Bulu as rector.  
 
Erdogan regime's appointment of a ruling-party loyalist to lead one of Turkey’s most prestigious universities sparked outrage about attacks on academic independence.
 
The declaration sparked protests by students and staff in which police locked the university’s gates and made 36 arrests, many of them in early-morning raids by special operations teams armed with assault rifles.
 
Lawyer Ezgi Onalan said some of those arrested had been beaten and strip-searched.
 
“The case files contain allegations of resisting police and defying Law 2911,” on assemblies and demonstrations, she said. “For this, we know there’s no need to raid homes in dawn operations and that this is illegal.
 
Prof Bulu’s selection to work at Bosphorus University – known as Bogazici University in Turkish – was the first time an outsider had been appointed to lead the institution since the military junta of the 1980s, the university faculty said.
 
“This is yet another case of many ongoing anti-democratic practices since 2016, aiming to abolish rectorial elections,” it said in a statement.
 
“We will not shut up, we will not accept this and we will not give up,” said Seyma Altundal, a sociology student at Bosphorus University.
 
“This pressure on us is only to defend the trustee, to lead to the hijacking of democratic spaces.
 
“It seems that this unity and solidarity disturbs the trustee mentality. They made the decision to keep our friends in detention for two days so that they cannot come to the protest on Wednesday ... We know that our friends are right, that appointing a trustee is unjustified.”
 
 “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tightened his control over the higher education system in Turkey,” Berk Esen, a political scientist at Sabanci University in Istanbul ,said.
 
He said Erdogan's decision to appoint Melih Bulu as rector is especially worrisome for several reasons.
 
“Bogazici is one of the best universities in the country and employs some of Turkey's most respected academics in various fields. In the past, President Erdogan refrained from appointing outsiders as rectors to prominent universities in the country,” he said.
 
“Our country needs free academia, free scientists and productive students. This freedom and productivity cannot be achieved by appointing trustees. We want a free academia,” tweeted Ali Babacan, the leader of breakaway DEVA party.
 
Students of the university, who are known for their high political awareness, protested under the Twitter hashtag #KayyumRektorIstemiyoruz (We don’t want a trustee rector).
 
Compiled by: Basma Qaddour
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