HRW denounces massive police violence against students in Turkey
Human Rights Watch has expressed sharp criticism of the Turkish authorities' handling of the Boğaziçi protests and called for the release of the arrested students.
Turkish authorities have placed hundreds of student protesters under possible criminal investigation, Human Rights Watch said today. The students were arrested during weeks of protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s appointment of an academic closely aligned with the government as rector of one of Turkey’s top universities.
Students and the academic staff of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul have exercised their lawful right to peacefully express their opposition to the appointment, which they regard as a move to impose government control over the institution and undermine academic autonomy and freedom.
“Erdoğan’s appointment of an unelected rector to Boğaziçi University and the violent arrests of students who had peacefully protested the move encapsulates the government’s disregard for basic human rights,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Imposing an unelected presidential-appointee rector on a university with no consultation demonstrates a lack of respect for academic freedom and the autonomy of universities in Turkey.”
“The authorities should protect and affirm LGBT students’ rights to organize and express themselves, rather than attacking them,” Williamson said, “The Turkish authorities should respect the right to assembly, stop using abusive police power to silence dissent, and ensure the immediate release of students arbitrarily detained.”