Four students were detained at Boğaziçi University on March 25 for carrying pride flags as they gathered to show support for another student who was facing disciplinary action for holding up a rainbow flag on top of the school's gates.
Hisarüstü'nde 4 arkadaşımız LGBTİ+ bayrağı taşıdıkları gerekçesiyle gözaltına alındı. Kampüslerimizde ve mahallelerimizdeki sonu gelmeyen polis şiddetini teşhir ediyoruz. LGBTİ+ mücadelesi onurumuzdur! #BundanSonrasıHepimizde pic.twitter.com/9RcnctDpoV— Boğaziçi Dayanışması #3 (@boundayanisma) March 25, 2021
The Turkish government recently mandated that all pride apparel and rainbow-themed items be sold with signage that restricts sales to consumers aged 18 and up.
The rainbow restrictions were a mere speck in a extensive homophobic rhetoric Ankara has been carrying out for months, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan withdrawing Turkey from Istanbul Convention most recently.
An international treaty, Istanbul Convention had been condemned by conservative circles for protecting the rights of "all genders," which they said was encouraging of homosexuality.
Boğaziçi students have also faced prosecution for creating artwork that displayed pride flags at Mecca, the Muslim holy grounds.
The students gathered on March 25 to show solidarity with the student who climbed on top of the gate of Boğaziçi University, who faced disciplinary proceedings for their actions.
"Some police out of uniform took four of our friends and said that displaying LGBTI flags was banned," the students said in a statement to the press.
Gökkuşağı suç değildir: Üniversiteliler arkadaşları serbest bırakılana kadar bekleyecek | Boğaziçi Üniversitesi öğrencileri, LGBTİ+ bayrağı taşıdıkları gerekçesiyle gözaltına alınan 4 arkadaşı serbest bırakılana kadar alandan ayrılmayacaklarını belirtti.#BundanSonrasıHepimizde pic.twitter.com/TOkTKXFzyY— Hergele Postası #3 (@HergelePostasi) March 25, 2021
The crowd of students started a peaceful protest at the school's gates after their friends were detained, and riot police arrived to disperse them, they added.