Former PM says there are conservative students among Boğaziçi University arrests, refutes Erdoğan

Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that not all students protesting the president's rector appointment were non-religious, unlike the dominant state rhetoric, and that the president even knew the families of some of the students who were arrested.

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Former Prime Minister and Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu has refuted Ankara's rhetoric that all the students protesting the president's rector appointment to Boğaziçi University were non-religious, noting that there are students from conservative families whom he and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan both knew.

"It's portrayed as if all the students are non-religious, but there are students who have been arrested, whose fathers are significant conservative opinion leaders whom both I and the president know," Davutoğlu said on a KRT TV broadcast on Feb. 19.

The former prime minister said that he, too, protested when the "Qabaa was disrespected by a small group," referring to the student artwork that depicted a Pride flag at the Muslim sacred grounds. 

"We need to tell our youth, 'you can have different opinions than our clergy, civil society or politics but you are all this country's future,'" said Davutoğlu. 

The prime minister told the students to not antagonize and marginalize each other.

Erdoğan and his nationalist ally Devlet Bahçeli have previously dubbed the Boğaziçi University protesters as "terrorists," and even singled out LGBTI minorities saying that they were a terrorist organization called "LGBT-I."