Istanbul: What is behind the student uprising against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The scene could hardly be more symbolic: On Monday afternoon, Turkish security forces locked the gate of the renowned Boğaziçi University in Istanbul – with handcuffs. They want to lock out demonstrating students who have gathered in the hundreds in front of the entrance to the campus. Your protest goes to the new rector of your university. You see in him a “trustee” in the service of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. On Twitter, someone commented that Boğaziçi was now going down in history as the first university to be arrested.

On January 1, the Turkish president made his party friend Melih Bulu the new rector of Boğaziçi University by decree. Since the presidential system came into force in July 2018, Erdoğan has only been authorized to appoint female rectors at state universities. With the state of emergency following the attempted coup in 2016, the universities were deprived of the right to elect their directors themselves. In recent years, Erdoğan has made use of rector posts more than a dozen times. The current case is now causing resistance from students and scientists.

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