A Turkish court early on Feb. 4 released all Boğaziçi University students detained during protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's appointment of a pro-government rector to the university.
Students and academics have been protesting the appointment of Melih Bulu, a long-time ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporter whose academic works are filled with plagiarism, since Jan. 2.
The largest of the protests took place on Feb. 1, mainly as a reaction against the arrest of two students over an art exhibition on the campus that included a picture of Kaaba, a holy site for Muslims, featuring LGBT flags.
Police on Feb. 1 detained 159 students and 98 of them were freed the next day. The remaining 51 students were referred to court on Feb. 3, with the prosecutor's office demanding the arrest of 30, house arrest for 12 and judicial control for nine of them.
The demands prompted outrage on social media, as activists and supporters of Boğaziçi University students called on all lawyers and politicians in Istanbul to go to the Çağlayan Courthouse to defend the students.
All students were freed on Feb. 4 on condition of judicial control, while a ban on traveling abroad was imposed on 30 students whose arrests were sought.
Her birinin ailesiyle endişelendik, tutuklama sevki ile ağladık, şimdi de serbest bırakılmalarını kutluyoruz.— Boğaziçi Dayanışması (@boundayanisma) February 3, 2021
İyi ki varsınız!#HerYerBoğaziçiHerYerDireniş#ArkadaşlarımızıAldık#Arkadaşımızıİstiyoruz pic.twitter.com/Fc0inwU8U8
The freedom of students was met with joy by those in the courthouse and on social media.
İşin en sevdiğim kısmı ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/iX4Putuuec— Levent Pişkin 🏳️🌈 (@leventpuskin) February 4, 2021
Separately, Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı on Feb. 4 said that "no one should try to test our state's power."
"Boğaziçi University is one of the most precious education institutions of our country. We'll never allow marginal groups who seek unrest there," Çataklı said.
According to the deputy minister, a total of 528 individuals were detained in 38 provinces in relation to the Boğaziçi protests and two of those were arrested. Some 108 of them were released on condition of judicial control and the legal processes into 28 persons are ongoing in Istanbul, he said.