Bogazici Resistance Journal

At the beginning of the 2021 (January 2nd), 12th President of Turkey, Erdogan, appointed Prof. Melih Bulu, who was a politician of his ruling party, as the rector of Bogazici University. At the same time, 5 different trustee rectors were appointed to other universities, but it was not the first time of the appointment of the trustee rectors in Turkey.

Because there was a curfew during the New Year celebrations (from December 31st to January 3rd), people demonstrated their reactions via social networks and in just a few hours, people who say “Kayyum rektör istemiyoruz!” (We don’t want a trustee rector!) tweeted thousands of tweets. The resistance that started on Twitter continued at the protest organized by Bogazici Solidarity (@boudayanisma) at the campus.

On Sunday, January 3, 2021, Bogazici Solidarity called on Bogazici students to boycott lectures on January 4. On the same day, Bogazici University faculty members shared a statement that they do not accept the appointment of the rector. The hashtag #KabulEtmiyoruzVazgeçmiyoruz was a trend topic all day.

The resistance that started in social media continued on Monday, January 4, with the action call of Bogazici Solidarity (@boundayanisma) on the university campus.

After his appointment as a trustee rector, Bulu’s first move was to tweet to say “Hi Bogazici!”. However, it has been highly criticized because of his countless grammatical errors. While these are happening, politicians from other parties and students kept saying “We don’t want a trustee rector!”.

January 4th, 2021, Monday

On January 4th 2021, a press statement was made in front of the campus. Students from other universities also declared their opinions and demands. Because there were a large number of students, they called for a forum, but the private security of the university prevented the students from entering the campus and blockaded the university.

Police intervened to students who wanted to enter the university to talk with Melih Bulu, the trustee rector. After the resistance of the persistent and determined students, police put handcuffs on the main entrance gate of the university. After the long police attack, students managed to make a statement to press and invite people to attend protests at Hisarüstü (Bogazici neighborhood) until January 6th.

January 5th 2021, Tuesday

In the early morning, police raided 23 students’ homes with long barreled weapons, and they broke the doors and walls, dragged the students on the ground and so on.
Bogazici University academics staged a protest during the handover ceremony for Melih Bulu by turning their backs and calling for “release the students immediately”.
Melih Bulu gave a speech to a tv channel called Haber Türk and he said that he is not planning to resign from rectorate, and he is a part of the Bogazici culture. His statements fired the demonstrations.

January 6th, Wednesday

The custodies on buses, university roads and home raids continued(24 students). Government declared a prohibition of protest at the university and nearby under the pretext of Covid-19 pandemic. That’s why students decided to carry the protests to Kadikoy which is an important center in İstanbul.

With the participation of students from other universities and resistances, the protest was even bigger.

At the end of the protest, the students announced that from now on they will take uninterrupted action.

Protests were also held in Antalya, Izmir and Ankara for the Bogazici resistance. Many universities from abroad also supported the protests.

January 7th, Thursday

In front of the courthouse, there was a statement to press for students under custody.

A meeting was held in front of Çağlayan Courthouse on Thursday, January 7, for students whose homes were raided and detained after the protests. A press statement was made in front of the Courthouse while the students in custody were making their statements by the prosecutor’s office. As a result of the trial that lasted until late at night, all of the students (23) were released.

The rap song Yetti (Have had enough), prepared by a group of students from Bogazici, was shared on social media.

Students in Ankara also called for an action in Güvenpark.

January 8th, Friday

Of the 24 students detained in Istanbul on January 6, 3 students were released at noon and 21 students at noon.

Protests continued in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, as well as in different provinces such as Eskisehir, Adana and Kayseri. While at least 20 students were tortured in the protest held in Ankara Guvenpark to support Bogazici University students, the students were released the same day in the evening. A student’s leg was broken as a result of the police attack.

Bogazici University students started to resist inside the campus.

A journalist asked “Do you plan to meet with the students?” to 12. President of Turkey, Erdogan, He said, “Why should I meet with students? Students are not in these protests, there are terrorists in it.”

On Friday, January 8, the residents of Hisarüstü Neighborhood, where Bogazici University is located, supported the Bogazici resistance by making a sound with pots and pans.

January 11th, Monday

University solidarity networks with the purpose of free education and anti-trustee rector movements were established at different universities of Turkey and protests were held.

Students began to broadcast video-clips and songs that also consist of protest recordings.

January 13th, Wednesday

Police attacked the students who wanted to make a criminal complaint to defend their friend whose leg was broken during protests in Ankara and 4 students were taken into custody with police assault. The support from other universities continued in the meantime.

January 14th, Thursday

Students from Bogazici University invited all components of the university as students, academics and workers to establish a “Bileşenler Meclisi” (Assembly of Components) which would act as a base for all components of the university to take part in the decision process. Bogazici University graduates held protests in America to support students and made statements to the press. Students kept protesting the trustee rector at university campus and held open classes. The protest ended with a call to join the “Bileşenler Meclisi”.

Students protesting the deployment of police to universities in Athens, saluted the Bogazici resistance with a banner.

January 15th, Friday

Bogazici University graduates attempted to make a press statement at the campus, but police attacked the group and prevented them from entering the campus. Because they were unable to enter the campus, they made their statement at Asiyan coasts nearby the university. Students, academics and workers of the university made a panel at the university library to establish “Bileşenler Meclisi”.

January 18th, Monday

In front of the Caglayan Courtyard Bogazici Dosyası Avukatlari, the lawyers defending the Bogazici students, made a criminal complaint because of the custodies and harsh police attack against students. 2264 academics from 52 different countries published a text to declare that they also support the Boğaiziçi resistance.

January 19th, Tuesday

A commemoration ceremony for Hrant Dink was held at Bogazici University and Bogazici Solidarity announced the planned protest in Kadikoy coast on January 21st with participation of solidarity communities of other universities.

January 21st, Thursday

Students from different universities got together in Kadikoy after the protests at their own campuses. The Pride Parade was held at Bogazici University South Campus. The students stated that they organized the march “so that the campuses are places where all students can exist safely.” In the demonstration in Kadikoy, students, academics, resisting workers, lawyers, LGBTI + communities, women’s organizations altogether stated that “Keep Resisting”. Press statements were also made in Izmir and Adana the same day.

January 22nd, Friday

Bogazici University academicians turned their backs to the rectorship and made a press statement and declared that the trustee rector Melih Bulu could not appoint a vice-rector, could not actually start his duty without the vice-rector, and this was the success of the collective will of the academics. An exhibition was opened at Bogazici campus with more than 400 art pieces from Turkey and the world which were made during the resistance.

January 25th, Monday

An open parliamentary meeting was held at Bogazici University, which the students called. During the meeting, components discuss how to improve the Bileşenler Meclisi, protest approaches and the up-coming process. Meantime, academicians kept protesting the trustee rector by turning their back to the rectorate building.

January 28th, Thursday

On January 8, the front of the Rectorate building, which has been hosting protests and demonstrations for nearly a month, was closed with lanes. While the students brought up the event with the hashtag #BogaziciAblukada, they gathered in front of the Rectorate.

While the tents that the students set up in front of the Rectorate were broken by the attack of the Private Security Units, the students repaired and re-set the tents.

January 29th, Friday

Students were targeted by the media and the state for an artwork featured in the exhibition at Boğaziçi University. The media and the state pointed to the photo of the Kaaba in the exhibition with a made-up justification for this. According to them, the Kaaba was humiliated and this situation harmed religious values. Curator students of the exhibition were detained.Twitter has restricted Turkey Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s tweet, in which he called the arrested students as ‘LGBTI perverts”.

One of the five students detained was released on Saturday, January 30th. While two students were given house arrest, two students were arrested. Arrested students post a video in which they said that their moods are well, and they count on other students for the protest process from now on with the phrase “Bundan sonrası sizde!” (It’s your turn, now!) Students declared that they would keep resisting and release their friends from the jail and began the #BundanSonrasıBizde (#It’s our turn, now!) campaign.

February 1st, Monday

University students invited people to protest the arrests in front of the campus, but the protest was prohibited under the pretext of pandemic. Police shouted at students that were going to the campus to “look down” and after police officers beat the ones contested and take them into custody. At the same time, youth organizations that passed from Bebek to Beşiktaş were attacked by the police.

Because of the custodies both in front of the campus, on the campus road and inside the campus, the reactions to the rector and the police force flared up and #AşağıBakmayacağız (#WeWontLookDown) hashtag became a top topic.

Police didn’t let students that managed to enter the university to exit again and students decided to wait in front of the rectorate building until Melih Bulu came out. When it was 21:00 o’clock, police attacked students and took 51 students into custody under the pretext of curfew.

Meanwhile, a pot and pan action was held in Istanbul Etiler and Hisarüstü to support the Bogazici resistance.

Around 22:30, the police began evacuating the campus with the students they had detained. The Governorship of Istanbul announced in a statement that they detained a total of 159 students during the day.

February 2nd, Tuesday

The students under custody, except the 51 of them which were taken into custody from the campus district at p p.m., were released.

Bogazici’nden Müslüman Öğrenciler (Muslim Students from Bogazici) declared that their friends that has been arrested because of the photograph of Kaaba should be released because it is a freedom of expression.

Bogazici University faculty members once again turned their backs to the Rectorate building and protested the appointment of a trustee by carrying numbers of students detained. The faculty members gathered in front of the Rectorate with the slogan “Melih Bulu resign”, and came together with students. They called for the release of the students under custody.

After the call of Istanbul Labor, Democracy and Peace Forces; unions, professional organizations, revolutionary organizations, democratic mass organizations, university solidarities called for action to Kadikoy due to 2 university students detained, 51 people in custody and the repression and hate speech. After this call, a prohibition of protest was imposed for 7 days in all indoor and outdoor areas in Kadikoy.

Students trying to go to the protest in Kadikoy were detained on buses and ferries. Those with the LGBTI+ flag in their bags were detained. Despite this, thousands of people came together in Kadikoy.

Police attacked those who tried to enter the action area with rubber bullets and tear gas. Then the action spread to all Kadikoy streets. The protest was supported with horns from vehicles on the road and pots and pans from the windows of the houses. The police detained 104 people, including students, journalists and lawyers.

Demonstrations were also held in different cities on the same day. Many people were battered and detained in the protests.

February 2 at 21.00 in the evening, people from all over Turkey gave support to the protest by making noise with pots and pans and turning the lights on and off from their homes.

In the evening, Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu also spoke at Haber Global. Suleyman Soylu stated that even if the entire Turkey joined all the protests, he would not allow anyone to enter the rector’s office. CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also made a video statement on his Twitter account. In his statement, Kılıçdaroğlu called on the parents of the students and invited them to be sane and prevent the government from taking advantage of this issue. These statements caused a reaction from social media users.

February 3rd, Wednesday

Rector Melih Bulu confronted the journalists and said, “I will never resign.”

12th President of Turkey, Erdogan, also made a statement about the developments in the Bosphorus. Erdogan said, “Are you a student or are you a terrorist who attempted to raid the rector’s room and occupied it?”

Demonstrations continued during the day. Especially in İzmir, many people were detained by being battered.

While 81 of 104 people detained in Kadikoy on 2 February were released, the detention period of 23 people was extended. 51 students, who were detained from Bogazici University on the evening of February 1, were brought to the courthouse. All of the students for whom the prosecutor requested arrest and house arrest were released in the morning with the struggle of hundreds of lawyers. Six more students were detained in the house raid immediately after this news.

February 4th, Thursday

The demonstrations in the Bogazici continued with the students released from custody.

Those detained in Kadikoy (23 people) were transferred to Kartal courthouse. Police attacked the lawyers in the courthouse before the decision was announced in the long morning. Afterwards, it was announced that 2 people were given house arrest and 2 people were arrested.

February 5th, Friday

Violence and detention continued in the demonstrations in Izmir and Ankara. Students and academics continue their protests in Bogazici University. The solidarities established in different universities continue their protests.

12th President of Turkey Erdogan, said, “If their hearts are enough, they will say that the President should resign, too. The events have nothing to do with our students”.

After Erdogan’s statement, Bogazici Solidarity published a text with the statement “Open Letter to the 12th President of Turkey”

With the call of Bogazici Solidarity, over 150 institutions and students solidarity signed the text.

4 of the 6 students who were taken into custody with a house raid on 3 February were arrested.

On the morning of 7th February, one student had taken into custody for creating WhatsApp group and arrested in the evening.

560 people have been detained as a result of the actions carried out so far. A total of 9 people were arrested, 24 people were given house arrest warrants.

* It is forbidden to go out on weekends as a pandemic measure. That’s why no protests are taken.