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Investigations launched into students who protested teacher dismissals: Turkey

By Leyla Amur

University officials have begun investigating six students who supported academics from Anadolu University who had been dismissed under a recent decree.

Twenty-eight academics were let go at Anadolu University in February under the Decree with Force of Law (Kanun Hükmünde Kararname, KHK), which has been previously used during the State of Emergency to strip public personnel of their qualifications to work at government institutions

On February 15, the dismissed lecturers met with students at the university’s Yunus Emre campus to bid farewell, and the students hung placards in the Faculty of Literature and the Faculty of Communication Sciences buildings in a show of support. However, they were met with harsh intervention.

TOMA intervention

The police and private security guards, who had not previously granted permission for the slogans at the meeting, intervened in the farewell between the students and recently-dismissed academics. In a show of solidarity to the university staff, students sent a message that they would absolutely return to campus and pick up from where they left off.

Shortly following this, a TOMA – an armored water cannon deployed by riot police for crowd control – entered campus, and teachers recommended that their students disperse to avoid getting arrested.

After this event, six of the participating students received a letter from the university’s rectorate stating that they were under investigation for putting up banners in the communication sciences building. The letter also informed the students that they must defend themselves under the regulation for student discipline at higher education institutions. According to the letter, if they failed to do this, then the students will have waived their right to defend themselves.

 

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