During the protests against the new rector appointed to Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, figures compiled by Mesopotmia News Agency from lawyers firms and Istanbul Bar Association, show that in relation to the Boğaziçi University protests 563 students have been detained, while 24 students are still under house arrest and 10 students were jailed.
When the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu, a former member of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), as a rector to their university, Boğaziçi University students launched a massive campaign protesting against the decision.
People who are against the trustee politics of Turkey protest in the streets despite police attacks.
The ‘state appointed trustee’ politics of Turkey is not only limited to the universities, but it is a well known strategic tactic of the state against the HDP (The Peoples’ Democratic Party) municipalities. The HDP won a total of 65 municipalities in the 31 March 2019 local elections however, HDP has now only five municipalities left after the state trustee appointments.
HDP’s Trustee Report reveals it. The HDP had won three metropolitan municipalities, five provinces, 45 districts, and 12 towns, while 1,230 municipality assembly members and 101 provincial assembly members were elected from HDP election lists. Many of these people are now arrested and only five municipalities remain and all of them are the districts.
‘Trustee politics against the municipalities and the universities are related to each other’
Elif Karakaya, a university student who was detained during the Boğaziçi protests spoke to the Mesopotamia News Agency. Her house was raided in the middle of the night because of joining the protests.
“They do not want people to question the authorities, that is why they attack the universities. The ‘trustee politics’ is now a phenomenon in Turkey and I see it as an attack against the free will of the people,” she said.
“The sovereign powers want to invade all institutions, in which they believe they can raise their own partisans as their slaves. They want to shape and educate the university students in such a way that to make benefit for their own power.”
Karakaraya stressed that they were exposed to maltreatment during the custody and especially the LGBTI students were subjected to discrimination. “They have placed our LGBTI friends, who clearly stated that they were gay, in the same ward with the men. They insulted all of us, but we resisted. The torture our friends who were detained before us experienced was shared over social media, so the police did not act the same way towards us,” she said, adding that the police officers harrased the women in custody with sexist verbal assaults.
Yıldız Technical University student Anıl Bayraktar, who was released with a travel ban after being detained explained the relation between the trustee politics in the universities and HDP municipalities.
“The Turkish state is afraid of the power of the youth,” Bayraktar said.
“The AKP does not like anyone who are against their politics. We know it very well from the trustees appointed to HDP municipalities. If we do not resist now, these politics will continue.”
Regarding the maltreatment in police custody he noted, “There was a part of the Gayrettepe police station with human faeces and they forced us to stay there. Despite the cold weather, they did not give us any blankets. They also took our coats away and they put us in very dirty places during this pandemic period. 10 people stayed in places where 3 or 4 people can stay only.”