LGBTI/ENViolation Of Rights

Hate Attack against Pride Parade in Bogazici University: 70 Detainees

Students from Bogazici Resistance

Click to read in Kurdish or Turkish.

In Bogazici University, police attack carried out against the 9th Pride Parade organized by the call of LGBTI+ club which was closed by appointed trustee rector. 70 students were detained through torture and rear handcuffing. Students who want to go into the campus to show solidarity with their friends against detentions came face to face with police barriers and were not let in. We talked to E. K. who also participated in the march about the police violence directed at LGBTI+ students.

Before the 9th Pride Parade which was held in Bogazici University on May 20, there were detainee transport vehicles and riot police more than usual around the university which was already surrounded by the police. While LGBTI+ community was holding the Pride Parade, hundreds of police who came to chase them encircled the students and started to detain them without any prior warning. In result of police attack, 70 detainees, tens of hate speech incidents, rear handcuffing and torture were reported. Ones who weren’t detained by the police and ones who came for support gathered in front of the South Campus gate and read a press release.

“We are subjected to an intervention which doesn’t comply with any human dignity. They walked all over us being full of phobic hate.”

Circle of Detention

We talked to E. K.- one of the students who witnessed the detention of their friends, police violence and human rights violations, about what happened. “As our march began at 17:00, we saw police, too many in number, encircling us. They followed us and we changed our direction. When we arrived at the club room of our closed club BULGBTI+, they surrounded us. They opened a corridor for us and started violent detention without any prior warnings. Because of our identity, we were dragged along the ground and subjected to violence. Some of our friends got fainted, some had outbursts and they all experienced brutal intervention by the police. For a long time, we couldn’t learn where they are. They detained precisely 70 of our friends,” E. K. said. 

Taşoda concerts were shown as the ground of increasing number of police early in the morning. Stating that the oppression directed at LGBTI+ students has been lasting for a very long time, “ The appointed administration in our school is preventing any kind of work and performance which contain LGBTI+ elements, our freedom of expression in any subject, our human rights and our freedom to education. That was the reason of huge police population there, they were called there through the support of the government,” E. K. said.

According to Turkish laws, police must have appropriate suspicion before making any detention. When we questioned the ground of those detentions although making demonstrations in the university and also making demonstrations in general are already protected by the Turkish Constitution Article 34, E. K. replied:

“When we asked to the police, we never got an answer. Not only didn’t they issue any prior warnings, but also we couldn’t and won’t get any explanation about on what ground they took our friends and how they could torture them.”

That there were students who got fainted, had outbursts and got tortured was captured. About those recordings, E. K. said: 

“We are subjected to an intervention which doesn’t comply with any human dignity. They walked all over us being full of phobic hate.” 

Saying that they are worried about their friends in detention, E. K. added: “We were anticipating such an intervention; they were strangling us as limiting our spaces through using x-ray instruments and many other ways. While we were standing before the gates and defending our freedoms, they prevented our entrance to our school and for committing hate crimes-especially directed at LGBTI+ students, they prevented the Pride Parade. We are going through times in which our human rights are being violated in every aspect. We were subjected to homophobic, sexist harassment. They are trying to stop us through violence but the more they oppress, the stronger we will resist. Human dignity will beat torture!”  

Press Release

While those were happening, students waiting in front of the South Campus gate in order to support their friends were prevented from going in by the security. Since getting out from the school was also forbidden, students mutually confronted with police barricade like a wall lying between them. Some of the slogans students chant- “Where are you, my love! I am here, my love!” and “We don’t turn back, we don’t turn back, we don’t turn back from this path!” were still chanted by the students during the ongoing intervention. Students issued a press release there. In the statement, that Bogazici University Student Representative Council will follow the assault closely and the protests they staged against the x-ray instrument which was brought to the university as a precautionary measure against alcohol were underlined. 

70 students in detention were released after having health control and giving statements. Many students who were released very early in the morning- especially and mostly LGBTI+, reported the battery, psychological violence and phobic assault they experienced.  

Private Security in Bogazici University Has Been Captured While Throwing a Desk at Students

On May 20, one of the areas violence took place was the campus gate.

The X-Ray device placed at the entrance of Bogazici University, the intervention against Pride Parade and students’ not being let in the campus produced right violations. Before the campus gate, students whose access to the campus and also right to education were precluded, confronted private security guards who were physically attacking, attempting to throw a desk on them and having hysteria. 

In camera records, it is confirmed that guards were threatening the students and in response, students were saying “ We are students. Don’t beat us. That person hit us.” Shortly after, a security guard who attacked students was driven away by other guards protecting him. It was stated that security guards in whose job description, that they absolutely can’t use physical intervention on students is underlined, were behaved by the orders of the rectorate.

Security measures take up a large part of the operations of the appointed trustee rector of Boğaziçi. Not only students accomodating in campuses but also liberty, justice and freedom itself  as a whole are  targeted through radical changes -such as easing identification by increasing the number of security cameras, controlling student density through locating iron bars and subjecting students to intense controls by recruiting more security staff with making extra vacancies. K.S.-one of the students who confronted body search practices with the new coming X-Ray device, which almost counted as harassment, expressed what they experienced on May 22 on the social media of the university: 

“Just now, while my girlfriend and I were going into the campus, security guards wanted to body-search her even though the detector didn’t sound an alert. When we refused it, they said “ then, strip off and show.” We said “ Show that it sounded an alert” and of course, it didn’t. As I started to tape, the security guard next to my girlfriend held his device against her and said “see, it sounded” when we objected to it and said that he made it sound, some other guard shouted saying “call the police.” Since we are struggling with a crowd of people blinded by bigotry and there is no way of claiming your right  in Turkey, we didn’t maintain the conversation and left the campus.”

Given that security guards have no authority to conduct a body search, their immediately calling the heavily armed police positioned there for using force on students reflects the experiences of the students who were detained as a result of targeting they made in the past. K.S. told us about how the escalation of security policies affected the safe spaces within the campus:

“To see those transitions is really grievous. In passing years, security guards would really work for the safety of students. We would chat with each other and act with solidarity. Now, that tens of guards unknown to us act like the government police is absolutely disastrous. They throw desks at our heads while pretending to maintain security.” 

On April 22, 2022, an iftar meal in which the trustee rector Naci Inci was a speaker and thousands of outsiders were brought to the university, was organized. In the entranceway to  the  meal which was also protested by the students, people from tariqas who had no connection with the university were invited, rigid circumstances applied to the students were rejectted and neither an X-Ray device was put before the gate, nor  invited guests were body-searched. We asked K.S. how they evaluates such an incredible difference present in the two applications:

“ Indeed, it is a concrete sign of the intervention in differences, insincerity and double standards. In the university, weddings and similar events also take place, the security measures taken for them are also apparent, hundreds of people freely enter the campus. However, if it is an activity of the student movement likely to happen, we confront violence, harassment and hate in the guise of security because we aren’t one of ‘them.’ This place was supposed to be our university, it is the place we were studying.”

K.S. criticized the government policy faced by students who were being disturbed by the use of all the capacities within the campus and  experiencing such brutal interventions:

“ The reason why the government applies those policies is not just because of universities’ being institutions making science. Universities are also places which secure freedoms and thus, illuminate society. While we were making science, we would also care for the preservation of differences,  freedom, democracy and human rights. Now, through pursuing policies of fear and oppression, the government is trying to terrorize and silence us by leaving no space to live and in result, making us go abroad; they are trying to make us consent thorough all those things. As we are experiencing such oppressions, we have to maintain our struggle.”

*June 2022

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