Leftist students protest Prime Minister Erdo?an at ODTÜ

?STANBUL

A group of leftist students from Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) turned out to protest Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an yesterday when he was on campus to attend a meeting of the Supreme Council for Science and Technology (BTYK).

The prime minister was at the university to chair the 22nd meeting of BTYK, which was also attended by various ministers including State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Ar?nç, State Minister Mehmet Ayd?n, Interior Minister Be?ir Atalay, Health Minister Recep Akda?, as well as head of the Higher Education Board (YÖK), Yusuf Ziya Özcan.
A group of ODTÜ students gathered in front of the building where the meeting with the prime minister was being held. The students argued they were not allowed to enter a building of their own university and chanted slogans against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Police intervened and 12 students were detained, new reports said. The remaining students then protested the detentions and refused to end their protest despite police warnings.
The police advised the detained students would be released in the evening but the remaining students refused to end their protest. The protesting students started throwing stones and eggs at the police so tear gas was used to disperse the group, which also affected reporters in the area.
Speaking on behalf of the group, U?ur Y?ld?r?m said they were protesting the harsh treatment of a group of students by police in ?stanbul two weeks ago and that they did not want police on their campus. The protest ended around 4 p.m. News reports said a total number of 21 students were detained as a result of the clashes between police and protestors. Yesterday’s protest was the latest in a series against the government’s alleged interference with the appointment of university deans as well as the alleged use of excessive force by police during student protests.
The use of force by police against student protesters during Erdo?an’s meeting with university rectors in ?stanbul recently led to much indignation.
Protestors attempting to gain access to the meeting at Dolmabahçe Palace were met with what many have termed a “disproportionate use of force” by police.
A few days after the Dolmabahçe incidents, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Secretary-General Süheyl Batum and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Burhan Kuzu, who were scheduled to speak at a conference at Ankara University, were angered by student protestors, who also threw eggs at Kuzu. Meanwhile, Erdo?an in a speech during yesterday’s BTYK meeting, said the board had convened to evaluate Turkey’s advancement in science and technology, which the government attaches great importance to. “Our target is to lay out our strategies and policies with regards to these fields in the following days,” he noted.


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