Students and academics demonstrated at Turkey’s top university on Friday, defying a ban on protests nearing the 900-day mark imposed after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was re-elected for five more years, Agence France-Presse reported.
They stood with their backs turned in front of the Erdoğan-appointed rector’s office for the 880th day on Friday — a routine protest that has been going on since January 2021.
Authorities on Thursday banned any protest at the university — a decision that came after Erdoğan won the election runoff on Sunday and secured another five years as president.
“The ban has no legal grounds,” said associate professor Ahmet Ersoy.
“[The government] shows up immediately after the election. We face a [police] operation now, but we don’t mind,” he added.
The protests at Boğaziçi University started when Erdoğan appointed Melih Bulu as rector in January 2021.
Bulu ran as a candidate in the 2015 election for Erdoğan’s ruling party.
Critics lambasted the appointment as an example of political interference in the Turkish education sector by Erdoğan, who took the power to appoint rectors after surviving a failed coup in 2016.
In July 2021 Erdoğan replaced Bulu and appointed Naci İnci 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 are exercising our rights as defined by the constitution. We have been conducting a peaceful, symbolic protest in silence,” Ersoy said.
Many Turks saw the rector’s appointment and government reaction as part of Erdoğan’s wider push into seizing control of different parts of Turks’ daily lives.