Turkish state agency cancels student's loan for attending Women's Day march

A university student had her education loan canceled after she attended a feminist march on March 8 in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

This file photo shows a group of women attending a demonstration in protest of femicides.

Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR 

The state-run Student Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK), under the Youth and Sports Ministry, has canceled an education loan granted to a university student after she attended a feminist march organized in the Mediterranean province of Antalya on International Women's Day March 8.

Just a month after her attendance to the “Feminist Night March” on April 4, Merih Talha Aydın received a letter from the KYK. The institution accused Aydın of “being involved in incidents of anarchy and terror” and of “acting in a way that violated the freedom of education (resistance, boycott, invasion, graffiti, drawing, shouting slogans, etc.).”

The institution also accused the student of possessing “offensive weapons” and said: “For these reasons, your scholarship has been canceled.”

Aydın said that the KYK's move concerned her participation in the March 8 Feminist March and that she was held under detention for five hours that day.

“I am both an LGBTI+ activist and also a human rights activist. This is why I participated in the March 8 protests. They [police] detained us at around 10 p.m. that day and released us only at around 3 a.m. When the issue is about women or LGBTI+ rights, they are always oppressing us. And my scholarship has been canceled with a letter that came today,” Aydın told Gazete Duvar on April 4.

On March 8, a scuffle broke out between members of the Antalya Women's Platform and police, leading to the detention of 39 women. Among the detainees was also Aydın.

(English version by Didem Atakan)