Turkish court gives jail term to 14 Boğaziçi University students over protest of appointed rector

Fourteen Boğaziçi University students have been each sentenced to six months in jail over their 2021 protest against the appointment of Prof. Dr. Naci İnci as the rector of the prestigious university. One of the students received an additional 18 months in prison, while another received an additional 14 months in jail.

Boğaziçi University students hold a banner reading, 'We don't want a trustee rector.'

Duvar English

An Istanbul court has sentenced 14 Boğaziçi University students each to six months in prison for staging a protest in 2021 over the appointment of Prof. Dr. Naci İnci as the new rector of the prestigious university.

The Istanbul 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance found all of the students on trial guilty of “violating” the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations.

The court board handed down another 18 months to student Berke Gök over the charge of “damaging public property,” while giving an additional sentence of 14 months in jail to student Eftelya Koyuncu over the charge of “insulting a public official.”

The court acquitted all of the students of the charge of “depriving a person of their liberty.”

On Oct. 4, 2011, police detained the 14 Boğaziçi University students on the campus for demanding İnci's resignation from his post. Afterwards an investigation was launched into the students, with Prof. İnci, the driver of the rector's office and two security guards have been listed as complainants.

In his petition, Prof. İnci argued that the 14 students had blocked his official car, prevented it from going further, and staged a protest in front of it despite warnings.

He argued that Berke Gök had mounted and jumped on his official car, made political hand gestures, and damaged the car.

Earlier this week, the prosecutor submitted their final sentencing opinion ("mütalaa") in the case, demanding up to 25 years in prison for the students in question.

After the appointment of Prof. Dr. Melih Bulu as the rector by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in January 2021, the university's students 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 Prof. 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 have been continuing with their protest against İnci's appointment since then.