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The protest move­ment at Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­si­ty has not abat­ed since the nom­i­na­tion by Erdoğan of Melih Bulu to his pres­i­den­cy. Here are a few ele­ments of infor­ma­tion on recent repercussions.

An exhi­bi­tion of impro­vised col­lages orga­nized by protest­ing stu­dents became the excuse for a wave of Islamo-homo­pho­bic reactions.

Ali Erbaş, the direc­tor of Diyanet, respon­si­ble for Reli­gious Affairs, was the first to describe as a “provo­ca­tion” one of the works rep­re­sent­ing Shah­mer­an, a myth­i­cal crea­ture half-woman, half-ser­pent, drawn on a print­ed prayer rug bear­ing an image of the Kaaba.

shahmeran kaaba Boğaziçi,

bogaziçiOn Jan­u­ary 30, Erdoğan’s Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or Süley­man Soy­lu anounced on his twit­ter account the arrest of “4 LGBTI deviants from Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­si­ty who dis­re­spect­ed the Kaa­ba.” A Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or who does not refrain from pub­licly qual­i­fy­ing peo­ple as “deviants” but who lodges a com­plaint for insults against who­ev­er qual­i­fies him as “bald”. Fair­ly astounding…

His shar­ing, con­sid­ered as an appeal to hatred, and thus infring­ing Twit­ter rules, received a warn­ing. It is restrict­ed from view in France. “This Tweet has infringed Twit­ter Rules rel­a­tive to hate­ful behav­iors. How­ev­er, Twit­ter has deter­mined its avail­abil­i­ty may present an inter­est for the public.”


meih buluMelih Bulu, the man “para­chut­ed” by Erdoğan him­self to the head of Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­si­ty, seized the oppor­tu­ni­ty offered by the Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or in order to “defend the Uni­ver­si­ty and Islam against the LGBT”. He shared his tweet with the hash­tag: #bogazi­cil­gb­treza­leti, “the ignominy of LGBT at Boğaz­içi”, launched by Islamists and used to tar­get the work in question.

The attack by an inso­lent group against the sacred­ness of Islam is in no way accept­able. This has absolute­ly no place in Boğaz­içi val­ues. Accord­ing­ly, an inquest is under­way against those respon­si­ble for this attack”.

He delet­ed this tweet lat­er, then shared it again minus the hash­tag… But it was too late, screen copies were cir­cu­lat­ing on the networks.

Mean­while, 4 of the Uni­ver­si­ty’s stu­dents were arrest­ed and were still in cus­tody and pub­licly called “deviants”. Because of the col­lage, they were charged with incit­ing hatred accord­ing to arti­cle 216/1 of the penal code con­cern­ing insults to reli­gious val­ues. 2 of these stu­dents were lib­er­at­ed on Jan­u­ary 30 but the oth­er two were incar­cer­at­ed. How­ev­er, this offense is sub­ject to a max­i­mum sen­tence of 6 months to 1 year of prison, thus these two young peo­ple should not be held in pre­ven­tive detention.

Accounts of AKP affi­ciona­dos all car­ry the same tune…sometimes offer­ing “rad­i­cal solu­tions” such as the one on this tweet: “You know what, you should bomb Boğaz­içi with those who are in it, only then will your heart be qui­et.” Since then, the account of @halepli00Muhammed Nur, who claimed in anoth­er tweet that “the Islamist move­ment can­not be stopped” has been suspended.


Istan­bul’s gov­er­nor announced that dur­ing raids on the Boğaz­içi LGBTI club, “lgbt flags and var­i­ous plac­ards and ban­ners used in demon­stra­tions were seized”, in a for­mu­la­tion usu­al­ly used to announce seizures of crim­i­nal or ter­ror­ist mate­ri­als. Reactions…

Erdoğan joins the long list of homo­pho­bic speech­es by gov­ern­men­tal offi­cials. He con­grat­u­lates the youth of his Par­ty for not being LGBT: “We will car­ry our youth toward the future, not as young LGBT but as the youth of this coun­try’s glo­ri­ous past. You are not young LGBT”.

Bahçeli, the leader of the MHP nation­al­ist Par­ty, could not miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak up also… He com­pared the stu­dent pro­tes­tors to the sol­diers of Yazid who attacked the Kaa­ba or again to the cap­ture of the Mec­ca­’s Great Mosque by Islamist ter­ror­ists in 1978, with­out omit­ting inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or forces who wish to harm Turkey. His dec­la­ra­tion con­tain­ing all the ele­ments of big­ot­ted and nation­al­ist imagery is remarkable…

Boğaz­içi does not give up! The protests are ongo­ing and increas­ing faced with this homo­pho­bic wave added to the demo­c­ra­t­ic demands and the demand for the lib­er­a­tion of the 2 stu­dents still under detention…Protests are also tak­ing place in oth­er towns. The Uni­ver­si­ty is under siege by police spe­cial forces. Dozens of stu­dents are arrest­ed in Istan­bul, in Izmir…

On Feb­ru­ary 2, the gov­er­nor of Istan­bul declared that 159 stu­dents were arrest­ed and tak­en into cus­tody dur­ing the police operations.

In par­al­lel, “Anadolu Genç­lik Derneği”, Ana­to­lian Youth asso­ci­a­tion 1 orga­nized an assem­bly in Beyaz­it, Istan­bul. Slo­gans such as “the Nation­al­ist Youth is here against mis­cre­ants defend­ing uni­ver­si­ty free­dom at Bogaz­içi” were chant­ed along with “Allah‑u Akbar”. No police inter­ven­tion. No arrests…

Fahret­tin Altun, Direc­tor of pres­i­den­tial pro­pa­gan­da, announced that “Rec­tor” Melih Bulu was the one who ordered the shut­ting down of the Uni­ver­si­ty’s LGBT asso­ci­a­tion since such an asso­ci­a­tion goes against val­ues… “What moved to action those who com­mit­ted the “rec­torate’s block­ing offense” is the deci­sion above (pho­to of the tweet). As we can see, the Uni­ver­si­ty’s direc­tor had a per­fect­ly legit­i­mate reac­tion against those who attempt to tram­ple our sacred values.”

In the past few days, the regime has installed snipers in front of the south­ern cam­pus of the uni­ver­si­ty. Video here.

As we end this article…

Fol­low­ing a police­man’s order to stu­dents to “low­er their eyes and to dis­perse”, a hash­tag was cre­at­ed spon­ta­neous­ly:  #AşağıBak­may­a­cağız, “We do not low­er our eyes”. Turn­ing viral, it now heads the list of hashtags.Protests are ongo­ing, so are police inter­ven­tions and arrests…

Sup­port con­tin­ues! A new appeal was launched for this evening at 21h00 to start again with the light games and the con­cert of pots and pans in Istanbul…

February 4th update

All stu­dents under arrest are released.

bogazici turkey turquie

Pho­to Boğaz­içi Direnişi /Twit­ter @budirenisi

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.