The Turkish police arrested 159 folks throughout protests in opposition to the college director appointed by Erdogan


© Reuters. Bogazici University students protest against a new rector and the detention of their friends in Istanbul


ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police arrested 159 people on Monday for protests in Istanbul against President Tayyip Erdogan’s appointment of a new rector at one of the country’s top universities, the Istanbul governor’s office said.

Students at Bogazici University in Istanbul started their protests almost a month ago, saying the appointment of Melih Bulu as rector was undemocratic. Bogazici’s teachers also protested against Bulu’s swearing-in.

Protesters chanting slogans like “police, get out” and “universities are ours” clashed with police on Monday.

In a statement, the Istanbul governor’s office said 159 people were later arrested for “failing to stop the demonstrations in front of Bogazici University despite warnings,” adding that an investigation had opened.

Before that, more than 100 police officers gathered at the main entrance to the campus. They allowed university students in, checked their IDs, but asked others to leave, including several lawmakers, mainly from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

Sidewalks next to the streets leading to the university were fenced in and there were petty brawls when some protesters began to sing and walk towards the police barricade.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), criticized the detentions late Monday on Twitter and called on Bulu to step down to end “this ugly situation”.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, also from the CHP, said he had spoken to authorities to establish a dialogue between them and the protesters, adding that he would meet with students from Bogazici on Tuesday to address their concerns to experience.

Bulu, who ran as a candidate for Erdogan’s ruling AK party in the 2015 general election, was the first rector to be selected from outside a university since a military coup in Turkey in 1980, according to members of the Bogazici faculty.

The protesters also called for the release of four people who were arrested after sharing pictures of them on social media. They put an image on the floor that mixed the sacred Islamic iconography with symbols related to LGBT issues.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said over the weekend that four “LGBT perverts” had been arrested, while Erdogan on Monday praised the youth wing of his ruling AK party for “not being the LGBT youth”.

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