Nine Boğaziçi University students jailed following ‘terrorist’ rebuke
Nine students from Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University were jailed pending trial on April 3 on charges of “spreading terrorist propaganda” after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused them of behaving like “terrorists” for becoming involved in a brawl over Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” in the Syrian province of Afrin.
Six other students whom prosecutors had also wanted jailed were provisionally freed pending trial, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Prosecutors said the students had acted in line with “the terrorist organization” and had attempted "to portray the Republic of Turkey as aı illegitimate force that was invading and using violence."
The brawl erupted on March 19 when a group of students reacted to another group of students, who were distributing Turkish delight on campus in support of the Turkish military offensive to clear the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants in Afrin.
The group staged a counter-rally, carrying a banner that read “Invasion, massacre cannot be marked with Turkish delight,” and allegedly attacked the stand that had been distributing Turkish delight.
Erdoğan on March 24 slammed the anti-war group as “terrorists” and several students were detained by police.
“We will find these terrorist students through surveillance footage and will do what is necessary. We will not give these terrorist, communist youths the right to study at these universities. We will catch those marginals by the ear and throw them to the ground,” said Erdoğan, speaking to his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members in the northern Black Sea province of Samsun.
Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, took to Twitter regarding Erdoğan’s claims against the anti-war students.
“Anti-war protestors labeled ‘terrorists’ by President Erdoğan. Critical thinking dangerous endeavor in ‘new Turkey,’” Piri wrote.