One student detained in verbal attack incident at ODTÜ

One student detained in verbal attack incident at ODTÜ

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
One student detained in verbal attack incident at ODTÜ

The Ankara Freedom of Religion Platform staged a protest after the incident. DHA photo

Turkish police have detained a student suspected of taking part in a verbal attack on a group of women at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), issuing a search warrant for another one.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül had both expressed their dismay over the incident on the ODTÜ campus on Sept. 6.

Footage recently appeared on social media showing a group of students carrying banners that read “Cemaate Karşı” (Against Hizmet) and urging a group of women wearing headscarves to leave the ODTÜ campus in Ankara.

Some reports said the harassed women were students who were waiting to register at the university, while the protesting students claimed they were the representatives of Fethullah Gülen’s “Hizmet” (Service) 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 the young women in the video, until the women called for the help of security on campus.

Following the incident, the women who were harassed went to the police to file a complaint against the group that verbally attacked them. The Ankara Public Prosecutors’ Office immediately launched an investigation into the incident, daily Radikal reported.

Police briefly identified eight people involved in the incident after examining the footage. Four of the suspects are reportedly ODTÜ students while the rest are not affiliated with the university.

Police reportedly raided the house of one of the protesters, identified as Heyem Y., and detained her. She was later released pending a hearing. Police are now looking for one more individual, a member of the Turkish Communist Party (TKP), identified as İlknur Ö.

The lawyer of the suspects, Deniz Özbilgin, said his clients had not been told what they are accused of.

Commenting on the incident while at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Prime Minister Erdoğan used the incident to justify the government’s recent decision to introduce police to university campuses.

“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,” he said.

ODTÜ and YÖK have both launched their own investigations.