Turkish university initiates probe against academics supporting student protest

Turkey’s Hacettepe University launched an investigation against four academics and one administrative staff member for supporting students who protested against student suicides and deaths in dormitories.

Hacettepe students organize a protest over another suicide on university campuses.

Duvar English

Turkey’s Hacettepe University Rector's Office opened an investigation against four academicians and one administrative staff for supporting the students who organized a protest after the death of two students on university campuses.

On Oct. 26, Zeren Ertaş died as a result of an elevator incident that occurred at the state-run dormitory of the Student Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK) of Turkey’s Aydın province. On Oct. 30, İzzah Elif Zamir Khan, a fourth-semester medical student at the capital Ankara’s Hacettepe University, died by suicide in her dormitory room.

In the wake of the deaths of two students in a row, university students called for a protest and academics and administrative staff who have been investigated joined the press statement.  

It was expected that the investigations would be expanded to include students as well.

The university administration justified the disciplinary investigation with “protesting without the permission of the rectorate.”

The Education Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) made a statement against the investigation and underscored that the students' actions were "a reflection of the extraordinary conditions of poverty on universities.”

The teacher’s union stated, “The conditions of poverty faced by the students have gone far beyond material factors and have taken the form of depression and suicide. Today, we continue to receive reports of depressed students applying to their departments, openly stating that they are suicidal.”

The statement criticized the continuing threats against the students exercising their democratic rights and worsening living conditions at the university.

“We remind the university administration that the responsibility of the university in the conditions of extraordinary poverty that university students are going through is to take concrete steps to meet their demands, not to investigate students who demand nutrition, housing, and psychological support based on their constitutional rights."

The union on Jan. 26 also visited the university members who have been investigated.

Two weeks after the students’ protest, Ayşegül Tayyar, a student of Hacettepe University Faculty of Computer Engineering, died by suicide in the dormitory room of the university.