Four people were formally arrested as part of an investigation into protests against President Tayyip Erdogan’s appointment of a rector at one of the country’s top universities, an Istanbul prosecutor’s office said on Sunday.
The protests began last month over Erdogan’s appointment of Melih Bulu, an academic and former political candidate, as rector of Istanbul’s Bogazici University. Students and faculty say the process was undemocratic.
Istanbul Anadolu prosecutor’s office said four people were jailed pending trial over protests at Istanbul’s Kadikoy district. They were variously charged with crimes including damaging public property and terrorism propaganda.
Two others were placed under house arrest, it said.
Hundreds of people gathered in Kadikoy this week in support of students protesting at the university. Authorities detained around 165 people on two separate days and two of them were jailed pending trial.
About 600 people have been detained since Jan. 4 as protests spread in Istanbul and Ankara, authorities have said. Most have been released but the government has dismissed protesters’ criticism, saying the demonstrations are politically driven.
Officials have also deployed what the United States and United Nations have both described as homophobic rhetoric, with one minister describing students as “LGBT deviants.”
Erdogan established two new faculties at the university in a decree published in the Official Gazette on Saturday, in a move critics said was aimed at increasing Ankara’s influence.
Ali Babacan, a former Erdogan ally and the current head of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), said on Saturday the move would lead to appointments of people closer to Erdogan.
“New academics will be easily employed there and people of a similar profile will be appointed there,” he told broadcaster Halk TV in an interview.
“The game plan in the background needs to be seen,” Babacan said, pointing to similar steps being taken at other institutions in the past.
US President Biden maintains tough line on Turkey over Russia armsUS President Joe Biden’s administration said it wants Turkey to renounce a major Russian missile defense system it controversially bought in 2019, ... Middle East
Washington rejects Turkey's minister's statement that US was behind 2016 coup attemptThe US State Department said on Thursday assertions by Turkish officials that the United States was involved in a failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey ... World News
Turkey rejects US criticism of student protest crackdown, including mass detentionsTurkey on Thursday rejected US criticism over mass detentions of students during a month of escalating protests, telling Washington not to interfere ... World News
President Erdogan ally backs call to rewrite Turkey’s constitutionPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling coalition partner on Tuesday backed the Turkish leader’s surprise call to draft a new constitution, which some ... Middle East