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: March 07, 2024

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Istanbul University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 7, 2024, police prevented a group of Istanbul University students from participating in a march marking International Women’s Day, detaining several protesters.

The students intended to march from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences to the main day of the university’s Beyazıt Campus. Police prevented the students from leaving the faculty gate, apparently because of a banner reading “LGBTIQ+.” Around 10 protesters were detained.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the forcible detention of students peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – 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. While state authorities have the right to implement reasonable laws and regulations to ensure order, they must also exercise restraint and refrain from actions that may result in unnecessary harm. 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)