SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: October 10, 2017

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):Istanbul University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 10, 2017, Turkish police officers reportedly assaulted and detained 67 students who were attempting to gather at Istanbul University for a demonstration marking the anniversary of a violent attack in Ankara.
A group of students reportedly had planned to issue a statement to the press on the campus of Istanbul University, on the second anniversary of a deadly terrorist attack in Ankara that left over 100 people dead and over 500 injured.

As they approached the university gates, the students were met by groups of Turkish police officers, who reportedly launched tear gas and fired rubber bullets at them. It is unclear what actions the students had taken, if any, to provoke the officers’ response. Police ultimately detained 67 students during the incident, later taking them to Beyazıt Police Station. Several students were injured, including one whose arm was broken.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of violence and detentions against students in an attempt to restrict their peaceful exercise of  their rights to freedom of expression and association — conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a party. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.