I decided to put this piece together for those who could not follow what is going on in Turkey at the moment. On January 1st 2021, Melih Bulu was appointed as rector for Bogazici University. In 2016, a Bogazici professor was appointed rector by the president without an election for the first time, and in 2021, the appointed rector is not a Bogazici professor at all. Melih Bulu has plagiarized his master’s and PhD theses, and is an inept academic with reference to all Turkish academics, or Turkish rectors for that matter. The first day of protests (January 4th) saw Turkish riot police intervene the protest with tear gas, plastic bullets and pressurized water from anti-riot armored vehicles (TOMA). Since then, academics have been protesting the trustee rector daily by turning their backs to the Rectorate. Vice-rector and rector consultant positions were vacated, incapacitating the operative power of the trustee rector.

Gates of Bogazici University’s South Campus cuffed. Courtesy of Birgün Gazetesi

Bogazici University, and Hisarustu, the quarter in which the university is situated, has been besieged by riot police, TOMAs, and various police vehicles since January 4th, with a significant increase in the number of undercover police. The protests on January 6th saw protestors walk from Bogazici University to Besiktas (a five-kilometer walk, 3.1 miles) and gather with other protestors in Kadikoy. Since then, students have been detained, their hands cuffed behind their backs, and been subject to torture. Protests have continued ever since in many cities and countries.

After the open-air exhibition at South Campus in Bogazici University, a religious piece of art has spiked outrage in the religious population of Turkey, resulting in two students being sent to the penitentiary, and two students in house arrest.

Arrested students on the cover of Leman. Courtesy of Tuncay Akgün, Twitter

On February 1st, students were prevented from exiting the South Campus to meet with protestors outside the school, and students outside the school were put into custody. Students who were not let out of the school returned to the rectorate building to protest. One private security officer assaulted students with a wooden bat. Around 7 PM, the president of the alumni association warned protestors that after 9 PM, the covid-curfew would be in place and the police chief warned him that students would be dispensed. Around 9.40 PM, riot police by the hundreds entered the campus, detaining some students at the campus (Birgün Gazetesi, 2021) , and detaining some outside the campus. 159 students were detained on February 1st (Cumhuriyet Gazetesi, 2021), bringing the total sum to 200+ since January 1st. 

Gözaltına alınan bir öğrenci. Kaynak: Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Twitter

Detained students were subject to verbal and physical abuse. Students in penitentiary were told to “f*ck each other”, and some detained students were told to “f*ck their mothers”. Many students were beaten up (BirGün Gazetesi, 2021), with broken jaws, bloody eyebrows (Jurnal Gazetesi-a, 2021), and one student had a police radio broken on his head (Jurnal Gazetesi-a, 2021). The candidate status of the LGBTI+ Studies Club was revoked (a claim later disputed),  and the locks of the LGBTI+ Studies and the Female Studies Club were changed (T24 Gazetesi, 2021). Students walking to the school were told to “look down” and were harrassed and detained upon non-compliance. Students were also sexually assaulted during detainment. One student was groped by riot police (Jurnal Gazetesi-b, 2021). Students were deprived of water under custody (YolTV, by BirGün; 2021). One student had her headscarf forcibly removed and was dragged on the floor. 

Kafasında telsiz kırılan öğrenci. Kaynak: Berke Avcı, Twitter

We condemn this violent and hateful appointment against the freedom of expression and education, equality of opportunity, laicism and democracy! We stand by each student ever laid hand on by the police. We will keep resisting until the appointment is revoked. Long live Bogazici University! Long live the freedom of expression!


Birgün Gazetesi, 1 Şubat 2021, “Boğaziçi Üniversitesi önündeki protestoya polis müdahalesi: Gözaltılar var”


Cumhuriyet Gazetesi, 1 Şubat 2021, “Boğaziçi Üniversitesi’ne polis girdi: 159 gözaltı”


Jurnal Gazetesi-a, 1 Şubat 2021, “Boğaziçili öğrenciler gözaltına alındığı sırada eylem yapan Anadolu Gençlik Derneği’ne müdahale edilmedi”

Jurnal Gazetesi-b, 2 Şubat 2021, “Kırmızı daire: Boğaziçi Üniversitesi öğrencisi K.Ç. gözaltı sırasında yaşadığı cinsel tacizi anlattı: ‘Kalçam 2 kere avuçlanarak sıkıldı, arkamı döndüğümde 4 çevik kuvvet polisi olduğunu gördüm’ ”

T24 Gazetesi, 2 Şubat 2021, “Boğaziçi’nde kadın araştırmaları ve LGBTİ+ kulüplerinin kapı kilidi Melih Bulu’nun talimatıyla değiştirilmiş!” 


YolTV, 1 Şubat 2021, “Gözaltına alınan öğrencilerin avukatları: Sağlık kontrolü yapılan öğrencilere su vermemiz polisler tarafından engellendi (Kaynak: Birgün)”