Verbal attack on headscarved women in ODTÜ irks government
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Footage recently appeared on social media showing a group of students carrying banners that read “Cemaate karşı” (Against Hizmet) and urging some headscarved women to leave the ODTÜ campus in Ankara.Turkey’s prime minister and president have both reacted against a verbal attack by university students directed at headscarved women on the Middle East Technical University’s (ODTÜ) campus, accusing them of organizing against Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s Hizmet (service) movement.
Footage recently appeared on social media showing a group of students carrying banners that read “Cemaate karşı” (Against Hizmet) and urging some headscarved women to leave the ODTÜ campus in Ankara.
Some reports said the harassed women were students who were waiting to register in the university while the protesting students claimed they were the representatives of the Hizmet movement trying to “recruit” newly registered ODTÜ students by convincing them to stay in Hizmet-run dormitories.
The protesters are seen chanting slogans against Hizmet and harassing young women in the video until they called for security forces’ help.
“A campaign is being conducted against this country’s own people. The Higher Education Board (YÖK) will do what is necessary. We will also do something. This incident has proven why I want police on university campuses. There are civilian police there, but they are doing nothing. On the contrary, he seems to be making efforts to support the group. That university belongs to everyone, not those students,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sept. 6 in a press conference in response to a question in St. Petersburg during the G-20 summit.
President Abdullah Gül said such disputes had been left behind in the past and that such attitudes were inappropriate for ODTÜ.
“Education is everyone’s fundamental right; no one has the power to avoid a fundamental right; these debates have all been left in the past,” Gül said during a visit to Yalova.
“No one should put pressure on any student based on his or her ideas,” the president said.
YÖK head Professor Gökhan Çetinsaya said they would not permit such incidents to be repeated in universities. Çetinsaya also said the necessary legal action would be taken against those who allegedly harassed the women.
ODTÜ’s administration has also launched an investigation into the incident, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul deputy Bülent Turan said on his Twitter account.
Turan said the university would take legal action if necessary based on the findings of the investigation.