Police detain 11 as students occupy Ankara University faculty building
A group of Ankara University students occupied the facilities of the Language History and Geography Faculty, forcing academics and other students to leave the building. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZA group of Ankara University students occupied the facilities of the Language History and Geography Faculty on Nov. 6 to denounce the Higher Education Board (YÖK), on the 32nd anniversary of the controversial institution that stands as the ultimate decision-making entity for Turkish universities.
Students occupied the dean’s office, forcing the academics to leave the building, and set the papers in the office in fire. They then hung a banner saying, “No to YÖK” outside the window of the dean’s office to express opposition against the institution blasted for being a remnant of the authoritarian and undemocratic legacy of the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup.
Police forces used tear gas to disperse students from the school building and detained 11 people for their involvement in the protests.
Also in Ankara, thousands of students hit the streets organizing a march to denounce YÖK. In one of the most intense incidents, a group of students who made a statement asking for “free education and a future without exams” faced police intervention while protesting on Kızılay’s Yüksel Street, in the center of the Turkish capital.
Police took extreme security measures and fired tear gas at the group who insisted on marching with banners.
Students of the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), which has been at the center of a dispute between the government and environmentalists over a controversial road project, also gathered to express their opposition to YÖK and education policies in the country.
Students gathered at the university’s iconic stadium, forming the words “Diren” (Resist) using their bodies.
Not only at ODTÜ, but students marching across the country recalled the ODTÜ incidents and criticized authorities for the destruction of trees on the university’s campus for the road’s construction.
In a separate demonstration in the southern province of Antalya, hundreds of students marched to the Akdeniz University rector’s office after conducting a sitting protest in the city-center.
In the clashes which erupted between private security guards and the students, three guards were injured and five students were taken into custody.