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: March 31, 2018

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Boğaziçi University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 31, 2018, Turkish authorities reportedly detained two students from Boğaziçi University, in apparent retaliation for their alleged participation in a March 19 protest.

According to sources, on March 19, the students participated in a counter protest on the Boğaziçi campus in response to an event held by students raising support for Turkish armed forces serving in Syria. The counter-protesters reportedly shouted and displayed banners with anti-war slogans; some physical altercations reportedly broke out between the two groups. A growing number of anti-war student demonstrators have subsequently been detained by police in connection with the demonstration.

On March 31, undercover police officers reportedly detained two students separately on the Boğaziçi University campus. Their identifies have not yet been disclosed.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention of students in apparent retaliation for their exercise of their right to freedom of expression — conduct which 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. State authorities have a responsibility to protect the rights of freedom of expression and due process. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom, and democratic society generally.