The arrest of Boğaziçi students is laden with symbolism

The action whereby the police tear down the doors and the action where by the doors of the Boğaziçi University are handcuffed are associated with each other. The door of the university is regarded a wall for some people now. Those inside the wall and those outside the wall have been absolutely separated.

Students of Boğaziçi University were detained. Some were detained whilst protesting on campus against the newly appointed rector, or rather, against the method of appointing rectors. Others were taken from their homes in the early hours of the morning the following day.

All this was shown on TV. The doors of those students’ homes were forcibly opened. For two of those students, the walls of their homes were broken down. The disproportionate use of force that was used during the demonstrations on campus gave an indication as to the police’s attitude. The police should not be present on university campuses. Even a so-called ‘proportionate use of force” would have been unlawful on campus.

Georg Simmel, one of the first generation of German sociologists, wrote “The wall is mute, whereas the door speaks.” Indeed, what makes a place meaningful is its walls, providing it with an entry. The door, as the membrane connecting the venue to the street, makes the house a house and the street a street. It separates the inside, the house, the home from the outside; and it combines with to the outside. It also separates a home from a non-home. If a wall is a tool to make a venue in an empty space, then the door makes this venue a residence. According to positive law, a home is a venue that has “immunity”, or privacy.

Contrary to what Simmel wrote, the wall isn’t actually mute. The wall that has a door and the wall that does not have a door do not speak the same language. The door makes the walls say “you are safe” on the other hand, the door is the weakest spot in that place protected by walls. The door also provides a means of communication for the person inside as well as between the inside and the outside, it also regulates the communication. If the door is locked, for instance, there is no entry or exit and the communication is interrupted.   

Who is at the door?

Knocking on the door is a demand for communication. The moment the door is knocked, it makes you tingle inside: there is joy, serenity, trouble or fear at the door. This uncertainty lasts until you open the door and see who it is. The door of the house is not only the door that leads to the house, it also leads to the body, to the soul and speech.

Perhaps we’ll open the day’s doors.
And then we shall enter the unknown. (Octavio Paz)

Who is knocking at the door? It is hard to know. It is always hard. That person may not be a friend at all, but if he or she has knocked on the door, it is a sign that he or she may not be that hostile. There could be some hope that whoever is knocking may be a friend even though the house, the home, the nest may not detect this friendship. This hope is based on the fact that the hostility, at least, is not to an extent where the home is knocked down and destroyed. However, there is no doubt when the door is broken. Then, it is obvious. That person is the enemy. When he is breaching the door, he wants to be known as the existing hostility.

The person who breaks the door does not really want to enter, he wants to destroy whatever is inside. He wants to turn the place upside down. He wants to destroy the house. The moment the door is broken, the house collapses. The home is shut down. No difference is left between the inside and the outside. The person who breaks the door also breaks the communication, the soul and the body. The despot has arrived.  

Handcuffing the door

The action whereby the police tear down the doors and the action where by the doors of the university are handcuffed are associated with each other. The door of the university is regarded a wall for some people now. Those inside the wall and those outside the wall have been absolutely separated.

In fact, this violence is also associated with the dismissal of academics from the university with statutory decrees, the KHK. For them, the door is locked, there is no means left for them to return or re-entry. What is being done is making of the new Turkey, in which all institutions, including universities, are ordinary, unqualified, without any significant features and made up of several offices that function upon commands. The violence we are witnessing while this is being done is the display of force aiming to ensure that the society will absolutely agree with all actions of the state and its rulers.

For those who have an objection there is no reliable venue, their door will be breached. If the door is strong, then the wall will be knocked down. There is no legal limit for the force to be exerted on the person who is objecting; there can be hitting, pulling, dragging, pushing on the ground, taking and indeed strip search, which has been claimed, “There is no such thing.” Was it just yesterday, when the Constitutional Court ruled that strip searching was a violation of rights? Would a government that considers the constitution as not binding consider the constitutional court as binding?

The only legal limit is accepting this violence as legitimate within the structure that uses violence. This is the reason violence is so blatantly demonstrated and at the same time it is a response to possible criticisms of that violence: “If I am hitting, it is because I am right. If I am knocking down, it is because I am right. If I am stripping, I am right because as far as there is no other force that would prevent me doing so, I am right. The media and the judiciary can only exist as long as they keep saying that whatever I do is correct; otherwise, they will cease to exist.” The new rector has stated that the detained students were “arrested.” This stems from the recklessness in the propaganda that these students are not really students but they are affiliated with terror.

Not that the rector does not know the difference between detention and arrest, but the reason he spoke like this is that he does not care. In the basic design of New Turkey, distinctions and differences do not matter; what matters is similarity. This government has a particular “equality” mentality. Their equality does not apply in rights, means, opportunities and in law but there is equality in levelling by force. Those in power are equal in the law provided by that force; those who are not in power are equal in the unlawfulness practiced by the powerful. The HDP equals to the CHP, which equals to İYİ Party, which is the same with FETÖ, and that is the same with PKK, which is the same with DHKC. In fact, everyone is equal with regards to terror. “If not, with the force we have, we will make them all even.”

Did you say students? “Those students who button up before us and who applaud are students for us. Others are equal to terror. No door or no wall can protect anyone. If a person who was sleeping behind the wall dies, for instance, because a panzer has knocked down the wall, this is no problem. If the unopened door is breached by a ram, for instance, there is no problem. We can open everything, everywhere. We are conquerors, we are conquering the society all over again. Using force may not be accepted but power is obtained by force anyway.