Hundreds of students demonstrated on the 18th December 2012 in front of the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara (Turkey) against the visit of the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been pushing an agenda of privatisation across higher education in Turkey for the last couple of years.
The reason for the visit was the launch of Gokturk2, Turkey’s first indigenous intelligence satellite. Since 2001 Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party has hardened its stand against Middle Eastern countries such as Syria.
The 1000 strong demonstration started at 15:50. Around 16:15 the demonstration was attacked without warning by the 3000 riot police officers who responded with rubber bullets, tear gas while 8 water-canon vehicles have been deployed.
According to Libcom.org, witness to the brutality reports that:
“Police were casting tear gas bombs at students every 30 seconds. They were even attacking harshly as students were retreating. Police might be seeking revenge from previous student protests”.
Two students were severely injured and 12 students have been arrested. One of them, Barış Barışık is still in a critical condition, as he suffered brain hemorrhage after hit by a gas grenade in the head.
Authorities said detained students who have been charged with assault on police and violation on protest and gathering regulations, were not allowed to meet their lawyers due to on going operation.
Many university students (METU, Hacettepe, Ankara University) marched to the Prime Minister’s office in Ankara on Friday to protest a police crackdown on university students , in Ankara.
A group of METU academics boycotted classes Thursday to protest police violence and detentions, which were also criticized by the mainstream media and a rights group.
“Police was casting tear gas bombs at students every 30 seconds. They were even attacking harshly as students were retreating. Police might be seeking revenge from previous student protests,” METU Professor Ferdan Ergut told bianet. “Professor gathered on the steps of University President’s Office until police left campus at 7:30 pm.”
The human rights group Amnesty International called on Turkish officials to launch a “speedy, comprehensive and neutral investigation into the incident, as the police used excessive force against peaceful protesters at the METU campus.”
Solidarity protests have taken place across Turkey. In Adana students were subjected to attacks with rubber bullets and gas, leaving dozens injured. In Mershin students protested on the steps of the University management offices. In Eskieshir police set up barricades and fired gas canisters at hundreds of students, and were attacked by private security guards. Similar protests occurred at campuses in Izmir, Trabzon, and Kocaeli.
Prime Minister got angry to university professors, scientist, students
Speaking in a televised program aired in the NTV channel later on Friday, Erdoğan dismissed criticism in the media leveled against him about violence in METU campuse,he said ”The children of this country, engineers have done such a design, you need to follow.(He mention about Gokturk 2 satellite) But they protesting (He thinks that people protesting satellite,but they were not) What rector, what’s academics. Thats what they say without shame, ‘we do not want police in our the university ” They are not entering classes (He means boycott)I don’t care.If you become scientist or not become scientist.Your student is protestors ,these students are educated by you .If these college students are educated by you,our country failed”
A list of detained students included Mert Atmaca, Mustafa Bozkurt, Hasan Koç, Hüseyin Koç (readers of Kaldırac magazine), İlhan Aslan (Socialist Democracy Youth), Can Kaya (Hacettepe University,Students Collective), Cem Dursun, Batuhan Demirci (Youth Federation), Güven Kazım Altunkaya, İlhan Şen, Sercan Çınar (METU Mountain and Winter Sports Club,Greens and Left Future Party) and Bedirhan Şen.