ISTANBUL — Turkish police on Thursday detained nine people who had gathered outside an Istanbul courthouse to show solidarity with others detained for graffiti supporting student protests against the appointment of a rector with government links.
For over a month, students and faculty staff at Istanbul’s respected Bogazici University have led mostly peaceful protests against the new rector, Melih Bulu, who has links to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party. They are calling for Bulu’s resignation and for the university to be allowed to elect its own president.
Police have detained hundreds of demonstrators at the university and in solidarity protests that broke out elsewhere. Some of the detainees were taken away following raids on their homes. Most were later released.
The independent Evrensel newspaper reported that five people were detained from their homes on Wednesday for writing on walls in support of the Bogazici students. On Thursday, a group of about 15 people gathered outside Istanbul’s main courthouse where the five were being questioned. Scuffles broke out between the group and police who called on them to disperse, Evrensel reported.
A journalist at the scene said police detained nine of the protesters.
Top government officials have said “terrorist groups” are provoking the protests. Erdogan has called the protesting students “terrorists” and has vowed not to allow the protests to spiral into mass anti-government protests, similar to those that erupted across Turkey in 2013.