Boğaziçi University students: ‘We do not give up our academic autonomy demand’

After the release of detained students, Boğaziçi University (BOUN) students continued their protests against the appointment of Melih Bulu as rector of the university and called for solidarity. They reiterated that they do not accept anti-democratic impositions on universities and they do not give up their demand for academic autonomy and democracy.

According to Berna Kişin’s report for Mesopotamia Agency, criticisms of the appointment of Melih Bulu by Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues. Students’ protest actions are being targeted by President Erdoğan, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and many AKP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) members and students’ actions are being defined as acts of ‘terrorism’ and ‘vandalism’. State-backed media outlets have largely criticised the actions of the students.

‘They are trying to manipulate us’

Ebru Batur, a student at BOUN, criticised these depictions of the student actions as dangerous smears by those in power and by state directed and influenced media. These hostile discourses, he noted, are aimed at manipulating people into acting against them.

By using a discourse that suggests that “there are terrorists amongst the students”, they seek to weaken and destroy the youth movement, noted Batur: “They want students to be scared. However, considering the crowd on the fifth day of resistance, their efforts remain inconclusive. We will continue to resist against those smears. We will not back off until the trustee building turns into a rector’s building”.

‘The university has ‘almost been turned into an open prison’

Another student, İbrahim Kılıç, said the protest actions that were being held in the university were a response to the smear campaign by those in power that had been directed against the students. He added: “The university and its surroundings have almost been turned into an open prison. Police helicopters are flying above us, and the main gate of the university has been locked shut with chains. Despite everything, we, students and academics, continue our peaceful actions in front of the rector’s building. Calling students ‘terrorists’ is a perversion of the truth”.

Esra Çalışkan: Those in power are waging a war on truth

Another BOUN student, Esra Çalışkan, also reacted against the smear campaign by those in power. By calling protesting students who have nothing to do with militancy, political parties or any other resistance ‘terrorists’ is to wage war on truth, she noted. “Our truths are our denial of the appointment of a ‘trustee’ rector and the resistance we are undertaking to oppose this type of imposed appointment”.

‘We do not give up our academic autonomy demand’

Student Metin Kiper pointed out they will continue to struggle until their demands are met: “Firstly, we won’t leave our university to a trustee rector: we won’t leave our campus empty. Our actions are a criticism of the authorotarian system which aims to secure political domination of universities. That should not be questioned only in BOUN but it needs to be broad-based. For that reason, we call, especially other universities and every part of society to support our struggle. We do not accept anti-democratic impositions on universities: we do not give up our demands of academic autonomy and democracy”.

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Boğaziçi University students: ‘We do not give up our academic autonomy demand’

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