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: June 14, 2023

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Dokuz Eylül University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 14, 2023, police forcibly detained five Dokuz Eylül University (DEU) students for organizing an on-campus picnic celebrating pride month. The students are members of Colors of Resistance, a pro-LGBTQ+ student initiative.

Police reportedly followed a public bus that students took to campus. Once the students arrived, police detained them to prevent the group from holding the picnic. In a Twitter video, students are seen being shoved into a van. It is unclear exactly how long the students were detained, however, they were released that same day.

After the students were released, Colors of Resistance was able to hold the picnic at a new location.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention of students peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly on-campus – conduct that is expressly protected under 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 interfering in the peaceful exercise of the right to free expression and association. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom, freedom of expression, and democratic society generally.

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