Istanbul University students, academics protest plan to split university
Istanbul University students and academics continued their protest on May 8 by conducting open-air lectures in Beyazıt Square against a bill submitted to the Turkish Parliament to split Istanbul University.
At about 12:30 p.m., hundreds of students and lecturers gathered at the historical main entrance gate of the university, throwing slogans and opening banners that read, “Do not touch my university and faculty,” “Beyazıt is ours, it will stay so,” and “Do not split my university.”
The opening speech of the protest was made by the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) head Raşit Tükel, who called on the bill in question to be “withdrawn” from the parliament.
“By giving open air lectures here, by calling out to the parliament from here again, we will once again raise our objection today. We will want members of Turkish Parliament to hear our voice. We will show our efforts for this once again,” Tükel was quoted as saying by Doğan News Agency.
Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Tamer Demiralp from the Istanbul Faculty of Medicine conducted one of the lectures titled “the importance of multidisciplinary research in the training of academics.”
During his lecture, Demiralp said the bill in question was “splitting a sycamore,” which is “impossible to accept,” daily Birgün has reported.
The second lecture was given by Esra Arcan, an assistant professor at Istanbul University’s Communication faculty.
“As students and academics from every opinion, as information laborers, as all of the components of university, we are here today to take a joint decision for it not be split. We are at this forum so our scientific and intellectual history will not be destroyed. The example of a participant university is here,” said Arcan in her lecture titled, “The concept of the participating university and decision-making processes at university.”
Following the lectures, a press statement was released. “This bill has no scientific, objective, or consistent justification. This bill is not for the public benefit. As the components of the Istanbul University, we call on the Turkish Parliament to withdraw this bill. Until the bill is withdrawn, we want to indicate our determination to continue our struggle,” it read.
For weeks, university students and academics around Turkey have been protesting the government’s bill to split 10 universities, including the historical Istanbul University.
Some 5,000 academics have also signed a petition against the bill.