University students protesting in parks in Turkey’s western cities of Istanbul and Izmir against the shortage of affordable student accommodation have been detained in police raids after president Tayyip Erdoğan said on TV that some of the protesters were not genuine students.
‘Let me be clear about something; those who are protesting in parks, sleeping on benches… Some of them are not actually students. These so-called students are only impersonating students,’ Erdoğan said, and added: ‘This is just a different version of the Gezi Park incident.’
Erdoğan also indicated that the accommodation capacity of student dormitories in Turkey was much higher than that in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands or Spain, making Turkey the leading country in Europe for student accommodation.
Erdoğan’s TV statements were accompanied by a selected collection of video clips of luxurious dormitories in different parts of the country.
It has been reported by a major youth organisation in Turkey that around 50 protesters have been detained in Istanbul while BBC Turkish reports that around 30 have been detained in Izmir.
Images of students being dragged to police vehicles have been posted on social media.
Students in various cities are protesting against the shortage of dormitories throughout Turkey and the high prices of rooms and apartments rented out to university students.
According to data recently announced by president Erdoğan himself, the accommodation capacity of public dormitories in Turkey is 720,000, but the total number of university students is 3,800,000.