Turkish police detain 12 at Bogazici university protest, student group says

by Reuters
Thursday, 25 March 2021 16:39 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Students dance outside the Istanbul Justice Palace, the Caglayan Courthouse, as a trial against seven university students, accused of inciting hatred over an image that combined Islamic imagery with LGBT flags, begins in Istanbul, Turkey March 17, 2021. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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Student protesters have been labelled 'LGBT deviants' by Turkish politicians.

ISTANBUL, March 25 (Reuters) - Turkish police detained 12 students at a top Istanbul university on Thursday as they gathered for fresh protests, a student group said, nearly three months after they first rallied against the appointment of a rector by President Tayyip Erdogan.

The protests at Bogazici began in January and briefly spread in Istanbul and other cities in February, leading to the detention of 600 people and some clashes with police.

Videos released by the "Bogazici Resistance" student group on Twitter showed dozens of police in riot gear moving in on students trying to enter the campus.

The group said 12 people were detained as they tried to protest against a university investigation into a student for carrying a rainbow flag during the earlier demonstrations.

Seven students stood trial last week on charges of inciting hatred by displaying a picture which combined Islamic images with LGBT rainbow flags. When the image circulated on social media authorities responded with what the United States and the United Nations both described as homophobic rhetoric.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu repeatedly labelled the students "LGBT deviants" and Erdogan praised his AK Party's youth wing for not being the "LGBT youth".

Vigils have continued on campus, with students and academics gathering daily to protest what they say was the undemocratic appointment of Melih Bulu, an academic and former political candidate, as rector. (Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans and Nick Macfie)