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 27, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Munzur University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 27, 2022, police detained five students during a demonstration at Munzur University.

On May 26, students staged a protest against the establishment of a so-called “Youth Center,” which is affiliated with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on campus. During the protest, police arrested 11 students (see report).

On the second day of the protest, students marched on campus and performed a halay, a traditional Turkish folk dance. Police reportedly asked students to disperse during the halay and proceeded to arrest five students when they refused.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the arbitrary detention of students in an apparent effort to restrict or retaliate for their peaceful, on-campus exercise of the 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 the nonviolent and responsible exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions aimed at restricting students’ on-campus, expressive activities 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),to%20the%20local%20police%20headquarters.