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 14, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):Ankara University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 14, 2021, police attacked and detained peacefully protesting students at Ankara University.

Students held a sit-in focusing on Turkey’s economic crisis at the university’s Faculty of Political Sciences after a previous demonstration was violently interrupted by an off-campus group armed with knives. Police reportedly attacked a number of students participating in the demonstration and arrested them, along with a member of the faculty. About five hours after their arrest, police released the students and professor.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary detention and use of force against students peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – conduct that is protected by 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 an obligation to refrain from restricting or retaliating against the exercise of the rights to free expressive and assembly so long as it is peaceful and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of arbitrary detention and force against students in response to peaceful student expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.