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: December 08, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Ankara University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 8, 2021, a group of individuals armed with knives entered Ankara University and attempted to attack students who organized a forum on Turkey’s economic crisis.

Students had planned to hold the forum at the Faculty of Political Sciences to discuss the country’s economic crisis and financial challenges students subsequently face. The group of armed individuals, reportedly affiliated with the Grey Wolves, an extremist ethnonationalist group, entered the university campus, threatened students, and began engaging in physical confrontations with a number of students. Police reportedly fired tear gas at students and the off-campus group in an apparent attempt to disperse them from campus.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the violent disruption of a nonviolent student event. State and university authorities have a responsibility to prevent and respond to such attacks, including by investigating and holding perpetrators responsible and taking available measures to ensure that the event can proceed safely. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on campus undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.