Istanbul students protest at Turkey’s top university despite ban after Erdogan win

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Students and academics protested at Turkey’s top university Friday, defying a ban on the near 900-day strike imposed after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected for five more years.

They turned their backs in front of the Erdogan-appointed rector’s office for the 880th day on Friday – a routine protest that has been going on since January 2021.


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Authorities on Thursday banned any protest at the university – a decision that came after the veteran strongman won the election run-off on Sunday and secured another five years as president.

“The ban has no legal ground,” said associate professor Ahmet Ersoy.

“(The government) shows itself immediately after the election. We face a (police) operation now, but we don’t mind it,” he added.

The protests at Bogazici University started when Erdogan appointed Melih Bulu as rector in January 2021.

Bulu ran as a candidate in the 2015 election for Erdogan’s ruling party.

Critics lambasted the appointment as an example of political interference in the Turkish education sector by Erdogan, who took the power to appoint rectors after surviving a failed coup in 2016.

In July 2021, Erdogan replaced Bulu and appointed Naci Inci by presidential decree.

That failed to impress the students and academics who refuse to recognize the appointed rector.

The protest on Friday ended peacefully.

“We use our rights defined by the constitutional law. We have been making a quite peaceful, symbolic protest silently,” Ersoy said.

Many Turks saw the rector’s appointment and government reaction as part of Erdogan’s wider push into seizing control of different parts of Turks’ daily lives.

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