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: July 18, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Koç University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 18, 2022, soldiers reportedly detained 20 cleaning workers holding a press conference in front of Koç University.

Staff of Eurest Service, a subcontractor company that does cleaning work at Koç University, held a press conference in front of the university over working conditions. Students reportedly joined the press conference to support the workers.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of staff who work at a university in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly on campus – conduct which is expressly protected under international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a party. State authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with such activities, so long as they are undertaken peacefully and responsibly. State actions limiting the rights to free expression on campus have a chilling effect on academic freedom and university autonomy, and undermine democratic society generally.

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