Turkish prosecutor seeks up to 25 years in jail for Boğaziçi students over protest of appointed rector

In their final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”), a Turkish prosecutor has demanded up to 25 years in prison for 14 Boğaziçi University students who staged a protest against the appointment of Prof. Dr. Naci İnci as rector of Istanbul's prestigious Boğaziçi University.

Duvar English

A Turkish prosecutor seeks up to 25 years in prison for 14 Boğaziçi University students over protesting the appointment of Prof. Dr. Naci İnci as the new rector of the prestigious university.

Prof. İnci previously filed a lawsuit against 14 students, saying that they blocked his official car, prevented it from going further, and staged a protest in front of it despite warnings on Oct. 4, 2021.

During a hearing of the case on Jan. 30, the prosecutor stated in his opinion that while Boğaziçi University Rector Prof. Mehmet Naci İnci was leaving the university, the protestors got in front of the official vehicle and prevented him from leaving the university while they insisted on not dispersing despite all the warnings.

The persecutor seeks up to 21 years in jail for twelve defendants, up to 23 years and four months for one defendant, and 25 years for one defendant, ANKA News Agency reported.

Ersin Berke Gök and Caner Perit Özen, two Boğaziçi students, served 90 days in prison in 2021 due to the same court case.

The prosecutor also requested that the Istanbul Public Persecutor should start a separate investigation against the defendant Nazmiye Gizem Sert who allegedly called the complainant security officer Alpaslan Çepni "dishonorable."

The court adjourned the hearing, ruling that the defendant's lawyers should be given time to defend against the prosecutor’s opinion.

After the appointment of pro-government figure Melih Bulu as the rector by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in January 2021, the university's students and academics 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 Naci 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 are continuing with their protest against İnci's appointment. In this process, some students were detained and stayed behind bars for months while several renowned academics were dismissed.

The ongoing protests of the students, alumni, and academics of Boğaziçi University against the appointment of rectors by the President have been continuing to face backlash from the authorities.