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: February 28, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment


Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 28, 2022, police forcibly arrested and briefly detained 26 students participating in a protest over the rising cost of living, gas, and electricity in Istanbul.

The protests had been going on since September 2021, when students from various universities across the country began camping out and sleeping in parks and other public areas as part of a movement called Barınamıyoruz Hareket (“We Can’t Shelter”), to protest the rising cost of rent and the lack of available student housing.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary detention of students peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly 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 expressive activities and assemblies so long as they are peaceful and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions in response to peaceful student expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.


*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).