AKP on police brutality against Boğaziçi protestors: We will protect national will to death

Ruling AKP deputy chair Mahir Ünal has said that Boğaziçi University protests go against the “will” of the nation and that the AKP will “protect this will to the death.” Ünal's comments came as Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu branded protesting Boğaziçi University students as “terrorists” and deemed their slogan of “trustee rector” as “fascism.”

A police officer grabs MP Ahmet Şık by the jacket during a protest in solidarity with Boğaziçi University students on Feb. 2.

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Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair Mahir Ünal has branded Boğaziçi University protests as “anarchism,” saying the AKP represents the will of Turkish people and the party attempts to protect this will “to the death.”

“The issue at the Boğaziçi University is not about rector. These [people] have never believed in the legitimacy of structures that represent the people's will through ballot boxs, democratic ways, elections. This nation has given us that authority at that ballot box,” Ünal said on Feb. 2, during a visit to AKP Kars provincial office.

“If 26 million people's votes, will are being questioned just because 1,000 people are staging a demonstration, the name of this is not a democracy but a quest for anarchism. As our President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] said on the night of July 15 [2016 coup attempt], we will protect the will that the nation has given us to the death,” he said.

Students and teachers at Istanbul's Boğaziçi University have held protests for the last month against Erdoğan's appointment of former political candidate Melih Bulu as rector.

Academics gathered on Feb. 2 on the Boğaziçi campus with backs turned to the rector's building in protest. They chanted "Melih Bulu resign."

Hundreds also gathered in Istanbul's Kadıköy district on Feb. 2, carrying signs that said, "LGBTQs will never walk alone" among other slogans.

Police dispersed the protestors using tear gas and plastic bullets and detained 104 people, according to a statement released by the Istanbul police department.

Interior Minister brands students' slogan of 'trustee rector' as 'fascism'

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also commented on the protests, branding students' slogan of "trustee rector" as a “fascist approach.” “They are saying, 'You have appointed trustee rector.' This is a fascist approach. This is a political approach,” he said on Feb. 2 evening, in remarks to Haber Global TV channel.

He also accused Boğaziçi University students of “vandalism” saying he would not allow the “invasion of rector's office” as long as he is interior minister. “I would not allow it even if Boğaziçi University were to be set in an uproar, if whole Turkey were to be set in an uproar,” he said.

He further claimed that 79 of the 108 students who were detained on Feb. 1 outside the Boğaziçi University campus were a member of a terrorist organization.

“Some 101 of the 108 people detained in front of the South Campus [entrance] are not connected to Boğaziçi [University]. And 79 of them are a member of a terror organization, including DHKP-C and THKP/C-ML,” he said on Feb. 2 evening.