Judge summons police to courtroom during hearing of Boğaziçi students

Tensions rose on March 21 during a hearing of a case in which Boğaziçi University students are on trial, as the judge called the police to the courtroom and asked for the lawyers to be removed.

Boğaziçi University students hold a banner reading 'We don't want an appointed rector, but an elected rector' in this file photo.

Duvar English

A chief judge overseeing a case in which 14 Boğaziçi University students are on trial called the police to the courtroom during a hearing on March 21 and asked for the lawyers to be removed from the room. 

The Boğaziçi students are facing a number of charges for participating in the campus protests against the appointment of Prof. Dr. Naci İnci as the rector of their school. 

During the hearing on March 21, the defendants' lawyers filed an objection on the grounds that the chief judge had made a procedural error by previously holding a special hearing to which only rector İnci attended. 

Tensions escalated in the courtroom after the lawyers said that the judge had violated the principle of objectivity and demanded that the judicial control measures previously imposed on the students be lifted. Afterwards, the chief judge asked that lawyer Ömer Kavili be removed from the courtroom and summoned the police officers. 

Lawyer Kavili spoke to Gerçek Gündem and said the argument started after the chief judge refused to answer to their demands. 

“I said, 'I demand that you [judge] decide [on our demands].' The judge said "OK, I'm leaving" and left the courtroom. The prosecutor of the case also left. Later, they called the police to the courtroom. We warned the police, we wanted a written order,” Kavili said. 

Kavili cited the police officer saying “The judge gave a verbal order and is saying, 'I will not give a written order [for the removal of the lawyers from the courtroom]'.”

Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel made a statement in front of the courthouse regarding the events.

“They gave unlawful orders to the police. If the deputies had not prevented it, the lawyers would have been kicked out from the court,” Özel said. 

CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu criticized the judge’s decision on social media.

“On the one hand, there are students who got accepted by CERN and waiting for their international travel ban to be lifted, on the other hand, there is a judge who comes out of the court as if he is offended, finds himself as the authority to appoint new lawyers to the defendants,” Kaftancıoğlu said.

After the appointment of Prof. Dr. Melih Bulu as the rector by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in January 2021, the university's students and academics launched a protest demanding his resignation.

Following months-long protest, Bulu was eventually dismissed from his duty by Erdoğan in July 2021. A month later in August, again via a presidential decree, it was İnci who assumed duty as the rector of the prestigious institution despite the high disapproval rates he received on polls held among the community.

Academics and students are continuing with their protest against İnci's appointment. In this process, some students were detained and stayed behind bars for months.