Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for deeming the university students sleeping on the streets to protest a shortage of public dormitories "so-called," saying, "Welcome to the Terrorist of the Week Show with Mr. Erdoğan."
The president on Sept. 27 accused the students of being fraudulent in their demands, and said that they were "so-called students," comparing them to the 2013 Gezi Park protesters whom he's long dubbed "terrorists."
"Welcome to the 'Terrorist of the Week Show with Mr. Erdoğan,'" wrote Akşener in a tweet shortly after. "You can't look after your own students, provide dormitories or act as a social state, but the students are to blame, is that so?"
A recent analysis by BirGün daily revealed that more than 1.5 million citizens in Turkey had been accused of terrorism since 2016, charges that have become a prosecution tool for persons not in compliance with the agenda of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Students detained, battered during protests
Police detained and battered students on Sept. 27 as they continued their protest in parks and on the streets for the eighth day.
Some 50 students were forcefully detained in Istanbul's Kadıköy district, starting point of the protests, the Yurtsuzlar ("Without Home" in Turkish) movement said on their social media.
İstanbul - Moda’da #Barınamıyoruz diyen 50’ye yakın üniversite öğrencisi, gecenin geç saatlerinde Moda sahilde otururken gözaltına alındı.— ÇHD İstanbul Şube (@CHDistanbul) September 28, 2021
Öğrencilere yakalama anında işkence ve kötü muamele uygulandığı bilgisini aldık. https://t.co/cEefLswPcd
Another 30 students were detained and battered in Aegean İzmir, the group said, and shared a video showing an altercation with officers inside a police van.
İzmir’de yurtsuz üniversiteliler insanca yaşama talepleri için direnişlerinin 8. gününde işkenceyle gözaltına alındı. Gözaltı aracında polis işkenceye devam ediyor! #YurtsuzlarGözaltında pic.twitter.com/S87ru6DQ89— yurtsuzlar (@yurtsuzlar_) September 27, 2021
Police in İzmir continued to batter students at the hospital they were brought to for a wellness check, the students showed in videos they shared, and urged the public to meet them at the Yeşilyurt Public Hospital.
GÖZALTINDA İŞKENCE VAR!— yurtsuzlar (@yurtsuzlar_) September 27, 2021
İzmirde gözaltına alınan arkadaşlarımız Yeşilyurt Devlet Hastanesinde tekrardan darp edilerek işkenceyle kelepçeleniyor. Tüm kamuoyunu arkadaşlarımıza desteğe çağırıyoruz!#YurtsuzlarGözaltında pic.twitter.com/quZLZAuxys
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu compared the students' housing protest to the demonstrations against President Erdoğan's appointment of a party member as rector of Boğaziçi University.
The rhetoric surrounding Boğaziçi had also quickly become antagonizing, with multiple members of the ruling People's Alliance calling the protesting students "terrorists."
"Today, we see protests under the excuse of a lack of housing," Soylu said. "These were revealed to be members of left marginal groups. Four of them were noted to be members of LGBTI who like me very much."