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: April 20, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Istanbul University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 20, 2022, roughly 20 individuals described as nationalists reportedly used sticks to attack a group of students at Istanbul University’s Beyazit campus. No injuries were reported.

Students protesting this attack the following day, April 21, were also reportedly attacked by nationalists. When roughly 40 student protesters tried to enter the Faculty of Communication building, a group of around 25 nationalists attacked the group of students with sticks while the police and private security looked on. The police and private security reportedly did not act to stop the attackers. The Istanbul University Labor Youth stated on social media that the police and private security joined the attack. According to another student group, the security chief reportedly threatened the students after the attack. No injuries were reported.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a violent attack against students participating in peaceful academic and expressive activity on a university campus, as well as the failure of security forces to appropriately intervene. State and university authorities have an obligation to protect students from violence and other coercive actions that interfere with students’ participation in academic activity. They should also seek to investigate any such violence and hold the perpetrators accountable. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on students undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

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