Turkish police intervene in student protest against university’s open-door policy

Turkish police intervened on the second day of student protests at the public Istanbul University against the administration’s recent open-door policy. One student was taken to hospital after incurring injuries during the scuffle.

Students' banner reads, "Are these doors only closed to us?" Photo: ANKA News Agenc

Duvar English

Turkish police on Feb. 21 repressed the student protest against Istanbul University’s new open-door policy that opened the campus to the public. Students convened at the campus gate at the historic Beyazıt Square for the second day in a row, according to reporting by ANKA News Agency. 

Protestors carried banners that read, “Are these doors only closed to us?” Students wanted to meet the university president Professor Dr. Osman Bülent Zülfikar. The president did not meet with the student crowd saying he had meetings all day. He later accepted three students in his office. 

Students convene at the iconic Beyazıt Gate of Istanbul University

The students also protested the ban on switching campuses introduced at the beginning of the new semester. Turkey’s oldest higher education institution, Istanbul University is spread across 12 campuses in the city. 

Police officers intervened as they did not allow the group of protestors to enter campus. They dispersed the crowd from the gate using police shields. One student was injured in the tussle and was taken to hospital by other protestors. 

The university administration announced the open campus program on Feb. 13 to the students’ disapproval. Strong reactions both online and on-campus as citizens entered classrooms led the administration to limit the open door policy to certain sections of the historic campus on limited hours of the day.