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: May 20, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Boğaziçi University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 20, 2022, police arrested a group of students peacefully demonstrating on the Boğaziçi University campus.

The students assembled on campus for an annual LGBTQ+ Pride Parade, the same day as a music festival was to take place. The university administration had reportedly announced that no other events would take place that day aside from the music festival.

When students gathered inside the campus and marched towards the office of a LGBTQ+ club that the university had shut down, police intervened by surrounding the students and arresting them. A lawyer representing some of the students told the BBC that 33 students were arrested, while other sources reported as many as 70.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the arrest of students in an effort to restrict nonviolent, campus expression — 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 a responsibility to refrain from restricting nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Efforts to restrict students’ nonviolent campus expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.