Appointment of Prof. Melih Bulu, a candidate for nomination to run in the Parliamentary elections from President Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2015, as the President of Boğaziçi University, has not been welcomed by students an academics.
Since the appointment published in the Official Gazette on January 1, 2021, students and academics of the university has peacefully expressed their opposition to the appointment of an unelected rector. They demanded the cancellation of the appointment of Bulu, who is an academic outside Boğaziçi University community and also a known political ally of the AKP. Students and faculty members protested that appointment which has broke a long-standing tradition of electing rectors from within university. Protests violated by police intervention, spread to other universities and cities.
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) published a report about the rights violations during the protests, called “Preliminary Assessment Report on Rights Violations During the Protests against the Appointment of the Rector to Boğaziçi University by the President.”
According to report;
- Freedom of assembly and demonstrations was violated as a result of prohibitions and police interventions:
- Officers used unlawful and excessive violence, far beyond their authority to use force which is defined in universal and national laws.
- During the peaceful demonstrations held in 38 cities, plastic bullets, tear gas and pepper gas was used by the law enforcement officers.
- Prohibition on torture and ill treatment was violated:
- At least 801 people were detained by violence and ill-treatment, during the police interventions and house raids.
- At least 13 were injured.
- 60 people applied to HRFT, claiming that they suffered torture and other ill-treatment.
- Arrestment, home detention and measure of judicial control became a punishment tool:
- 11 people were arrested.
- 228 people were imposed to measure of home detention, 29 were imposed to measure of judicial control.
- Prohibition of discrimination has been violated:
- Political authorities and government officials used otherizing, stigmatizing and hate speech against the students and who opposed to the appointment.
- LGBTIQ+ individuals were targeted as a social group by the statements of the Minister of Interior.
- Freedoms of expression and media has been violated:
- At least 6 journalists injured during police interventions.
- 2 people were arrested due to their social media posts.
- Academic autonomy and academic freedom has been violated.
- Freedom of association has been violated.
- Inviolability of domicile has been violated.