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Erdogan seizes on student protests to further polarize Turkey

The protests rocking Turkish university campuses are the biggest since the Gezi demonstrations and like them are the product of the president's stubborn refusal to consider popular sentiment.
TOPSHOT - Turkish police officers detain protestors during a rally in support of Bogazici University students protesting against the appointment of Melih Bulu, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) loyalist, as the new rector of the university, in Istanbul on February 4, 2021. - Students are protesting against the Turkish president's decision last month (January 1) to name party loyalist Melih Bulu to head Istanbul's elite Bogazici University, with many  students seeing his appointment as a part of t

Protests over the appointment of a ruling party loyalist as the head of Bogazici, one of Turkey’s most prestigious universities, show no signs of abating even as the government continues to detain and jail students in a bid to intimidate them into submission. Beyza Buldag, a student at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, became the 10th student to be imprisoned in connection with the demonstrations following a Feb. 7 raid on her home near the port city of Izmir. Her alleged crime was to run a Twitter account, “Bogazici Solidarity,” which published an open letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing to not bow to government pressure. “Do not mistake us for those who obey you unconditionally. You are not a sultan and we are not your subjects,” it read.

Prosecutors deemed that Buldag had insulted Erdogan and incited “hatred” and “the intent to commit crimes.” Evidence against Buldag rests on her mobile number and that linked to the offending Twitter account both ending with the same two digits. Buldag has denied all the charges.

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