The American left-wing philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky has branded Boğaziçi University students' resistance “courageous and honorable.”
“In the face of [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan government's discriminative and oppressive regime, resistance and demonstration will continue. This non-sense [of government's actions] needs to be ended immediately,” Chomsky said in an interview to Mezopotamya news agency.
Chomsky said Erdoğan's and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's targeting of students as “terrorists” is “non-sense and bizarre.” He also called on the international areana to “embrace” the students' protests.
Chomsky's statements came after 3,317 academics from all around the world released a joint statement condemning the Turkish government with regards to its stance on the Boğaziçi University protests. The renowned academics have called on Boğaziçi University's Erdoğan-appointed rector Melih Bulu to resign from his post.
“Turkey's AKP government continues to undermine the rights and freedoms of individuals as well as the principle of autonomy of universities and civic organizations. Most recently, Turkish police have attacked and detained dozens of students who peacefully protested the AKP's attempt to assert political control over Boğaziçi University in İstanbul,” the academics' joint statement read, online news outlet Bianet reported.
"We call upon Professor Bulu to decline the position and we call upon the Turkish government to release any students still in custody, withdraw all charges, and respect academic freedom and university autonomy,” it further said.
Some 600 people have been detained since Jan. 4 after Boğaziçi University protests spread in Istanbul and Ankara. Most have been released, despite repeated statements from officials that the protesters are "terrorists."
Two people who were detained at an Istanbul protest on Feb. 2 were arrested overnight.
Government response to the protests and condemnation of an art display including a picture blending Islamic and LGBT images has alarmed the United States and United Nations, both of which have criticized what they called homophobic rhetoric. Ankara dismissed the criticism as interference in its domestic affairs.
The EU Commission said the detention of students "exercising their legitimate right to freedom of assembly" was deeply worrying, and the COVID pandemic should not be used as a reason to silence critical voices.
"Hate speech displayed by high-level officials against LGBTI students during these events and the closing of a LGBTI association is unacceptable," the commission said.
Erdoğan said that his government would not allow the protests to swell into a repeat of widespread demonstrations in 2013, calling protesters "terrorists." His interior minister described them as "LGBT deviants."