‘Terrorists’ Behind University Protests: Erdogan

News About Turkey - NAT
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday dismissed a university student protest in Istanbul as freedom of expression, saying the protests were led by terror-linked individuals.

Opportunists used the  “routine appointment’’ of a rector to cause chaos in Turkish universities, Diken new site cited Erdoğan as saying in speech marking a highway and bridge opening in southeast Turkey.

Erdoğan’s remarks arrive as Turkish police on Friday detained 30 people in capital Ankara following a show of support for recent student protests in Istanbul.

Hundreds of students have taken part this week in demonstrations against the appointment of Melih Bulu to head the prestigious Boğaziçi University by presidential decree, overriding previous legislation requiring rectors to be selected through an election process.

Critics say the appoint of Bulu, who unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the governing Justice and Development Party at the 2015 general election, undercuts academic freedoms at a time when the government is promising democratic reform.

“We are together following those who are turning a routine appointment into an opportunity to cause chaos in our universities,’’ Erdoğan said.

“Such actions, in which terror-linked individuals are the forefront, have nothing tod with democracy, search for justice or freedom of opinion or expression,’’ he added.  

Police enforcing COVID-19 measures intervened against a gathering expressing sympathy with Boğaziçi students in Ankara’s Güvenpark, Anadolu agency said. Thirty people were detained.

Earlier in the day, public prosecutors In Istanbul referred two students for arrest and released 20 under judicial controls for their alleged role in the protest movement.

Istanbul governorship has also barred students from protesting outside Boğaziçi University, citing the dangers posed by the COVID-19 virus.

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