The state-run Student Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK) has canceled the education loans and scholarships granted to at least 100 university students for protesting the appointment of Melih Bulu as rector of Istanbul's Boğaziçi University, Turkish media outlets reported on June 22.
The KYK asked the students to repay the loans already granted to them starting in July 2023.
The institution based its decision on a regulation which says students who are suspended from the university for at least one semester have their scholarship canceled. However, the regulation in question does not make any reference to students' participation in a protest.
Bulu, a long-time ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) member, was appointed as a rector to Boğaziçi University with a presidential decree early in January. Since them Boğaziçi University community, as well as students from other universities, have been protesting his appointment.
Burkay Avcı, a student at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, said that she got her scholarship canceled because she has always “stood by Boğaziçi University against trustee rectors.”
“Even if they have cut our scholarship, we will continue to struggle against trustee sectors. The AKP is trying to punish us for defending democracy. But we will not let this happen. We will file a lawsuit against the cancellation of our scholarships,” Avcı was quoted as saying by daily Birgün.
SOL (Left) Youth, a youth movement affiliated with the SOL (Left) Party, also released a statement, calling on authorities to reverse their decision on the cancellation of scholarships.
“The AKP is trying to discipline the youth which it has not been able to oppress in streets, square and campuses, by cutting the chicken feed money it has been giving. When pro-government people's million liras worth of debts are being written off, the college loans and scholarships are being canceled to silence the youth,” it said.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu announced on June 23 that the municipality will provide financial support for university students who were stripped of their government scholarships.
“It has been reported that Boğaziçi University students who have protested Melih Bulu had their loans and scholarships canceled. They should come here; Istanbul Municipality stands with them,” he said during an event in Istanbul.