The Foreign Ministry has lashed out at foreign critics for criticizing Turkish authorities’ way of handling protests at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, saying that no one has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of Turkey.
“It is in no one’s limit to attempt to interfere with Turkey’s internal affairs,” the Foreign Ministry stated on Feb. 4 over ongoing protests at the Istanbul-based university that triggered after the appointment of rector Melih Bulu with a group of students calling for his resignation.
“We warn those circles not to use a language that provokes groups that resort to illegal means and encourages illegal acts,” the ministry said.
The right to assembly and demonstration as well as freedom of speech are constitutionally guaranteed in Turkey, the ministry said, noting that terror-related infiltration from outside the university has been found in the protests.
The security forces carry out their duties based on the authority they are given by the law, the ministry said, adding that necessary and proportional measures were taken against the illegal acts that were beyond the right to demonstrate.
“Recent images of disproportionate violence by security forces to innocent and civilian citizens in the slightest objection against the government in many countries — which have been called ‘developed’ democracies — are still in the memory,” it added.
The ministry also advised that those “who attempt to teach democracy and law to our country to look in the mirror.”
After weeks of intensifying tension at a top university in Istanbul, Turkey’s interior minister on Feb. 2 called student protesters “LGBT deviants.”
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said 79 of those arrested are members of terrorist organizations, including the DHKP/C and TKP-ML.
“Turkey has been demonstrating its will to protect fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution denoting the reform steps it has been taking. However, it is also committed to maintaining its fight against abuses by the terrorist organizations and terrorism linked environment in this area,” the statement said.
The demonstrations intensified when two Boğaziçi University students were remanded in custody by a Turkish court for displaying a painting allegedly offensive to Islamic values on university grounds.
The United States is concerned about demonstrations at a Turkish university and condemns anti-LGBT rhetoric surrounding them, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Feb. 3.
Nearly 500 released in university protests
A total of 528 people were detained during the Boğaziçi University protests, Interior Ministry Spokesperson İsmail Çataklı told reporters on Feb. 4.
Çataklı also stated that two of those detained were arrested, another 498 people have been released and 108 of them were under judicial control.
“Currently, the procedures of 28 detained are continuing in Istanbul, and 22 of the 45 persons detained were linked to terrorist organizations,” he said.
Hurriyet Daily News