Police intervened in a student-organized “PanNo” event at Ankara University. Students from the Ankara University Communication Department organized the event in response to the dismissal by emergency decree (KHK) of 16 academics from their department, which left a significant number of courses without instructors.
The students decided to hold their traditional Spring Fair in February in order to show their opposition to the faculty dismissals and to raise money for the university branch of the educator’s union Eğitim Sen. The students organized a bake sale and decorated with banners and balloons, a video can be found here on Birgün’s report.
The event, which was also attended by the dismissed academics and Ankara CHP MP Murat Emir, included music, singing, and dancing. During the event, nearly 100 riot police arrived at the Cebeci campus. The police entered the area where the event was taking place and called an end to the event, claiming that the university administration had given the order. Students and faculty reacted by saying they would not leave the area. Upon this, the police began tearing down banners and popping balloons. The police also targeted the table where the foods were being offered for sale.
When students asked to see the university administration’s order, the police chief told students they should be in class and said “Leave this area before the pears get mixed up with the apples – otherwise we are going to arrest you all.” One student reacted to the chief’s words saying, “This is our school. We are all apples. If anyone is a pear here, it’s you. We had to sit for an exam to earn our places here. You have no right to be here.”
The police also reacted to the Spanish-language music being played at the PanNo event. The police chief, who mistook the Spanish for Kurdish, told the students, “You are playing Kurdish music. It could be considered propaganda since the words can’t be understood.” The students maintained that, although the music was in Spanish, it would have been fine for them to listen to Kurdish music as well.
After police intervention, students gathered in the communication faculty snack bar, where they rehung their banners and balloons. The students, who said they would not cancel the event, continued their bake sale and kept playing music. The students also held an auction to benefit the dismissed academics and donated the profits to Eğitim Sen.