Authorities in Turkey have started emptying university dormitories and told students to leave immediately, after the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Saturday that university dormitories will be used for sheltering earthquake victims.
The president’s announcement that universities will revert to online education until summer created a fury among civil society, many saying that students, who have already suffered from closures due to Covid-19 pandemic, should not pay the price of the earthquake and that halting an essential public service to provide means for another is inadvisable.
The state institutions have to solve the problem of accommodation as millions across 10 provinces are homeless due to the twin earthquakes on 6 February. However, many people say that other resources instead of university dormitories should be put into use to provide shelter to the survivors.
Students have been using the hashtag “#ÜniversiteyiKapatmaSarayıAç” (#Don’tCloseUniversityOpenPalace) to show their anger on social media, implying that Erdoğan should first open the doors of his residential palace in Ankara.
People were also trying to understand why the government is not using empty summer resorts in south western parts of the country.
Some are also speculating that the decision is related to government’s efforts to control the anger of the population by preventing possible protests that are likely to be initiated by university students.
They have also shared the pictures of their belongings being put into plastic rubbish bags by dormitory personnel in several provinces, including İstanbul and Ankara, adding that authorities did not even give them 24 hours to empty the facilities.