Protests at top university trigger more than 150 arrests

More than 150 people were arrested during protests at one of Turkey’s top universities, in a sharp escalation of a stand-off between students and staff and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, writes Laura Pitel for the Financial Times.

A total of 159 demonstrators were detained on Monday night, 1 February, after failing to heed warnings to end their protests in and around the campus of Istanbul’s prestigious Bogazici University, the city governor’s office said. The protests – where students shouted “police, get out” and “universities are ours” as they scuffled with police, according to Reuters news agency – followed weeks of mounting tension with the government after Erdogan announced the appointment of a rector, Melih Bulu, who is opposed by many of the Bogazici students and staff.

The decision has triggered rare demonstrations in a country where authorities have little tolerance for public displays of discontent. The crackdown, which comes at a time when Erdogan has promised democratic reforms, drew swift condemnation from Turkish opposition figures. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party, described the arrests as “unacceptable” and called on Bulu to step down in order to bring an end to “this ugly situation”.
Full report on the Financial Times site