Police presence on ODTÜ campus sparks fury
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
An undercover police officer allegedly followed an academic and a student onto the ODTÜ campus on April 12 without any legal permission from the rector’s office. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZDozens of protesters gathered in front of the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) campus’ main gate on April 17 to display their fury at the presence of police on university campuses after a police officer was caught on the campus.
The protest was sparked when an undercover police officer allegedly followed an academic and a student onto the ODTÜ campus on April 12 without any legal permission from the rector’s office.
The week before April 12, there had been a conflict inside the university, in which a foreign student attempted to abuse a female student. When another student present tried to intervene, this student was physically hurt. Despite being the victimized party in the incident, this student was followed by the police as he was accompanied by an academic, Mehmet Mutlu.
When the two noticed that an officer was following them, they wanted to lodge a complaint against him. When caught, the police officer claimed that he was following the student due to a threat against foreign students on the campus. When the student and the academic wanted to proceed with their complaint, a group of police officers threatened them with arms and took the officer away in an attempt to stop the complainants.
“Universities are autonomous,” the protestors said in a press release by the ODTÜ office of the Education and Science Employees Union (Eğitim Sen), maintaining that the presence of the police on the campus was threatening both the university’s administrative and academic self-governance.
Previous actions of the police at other universities, including Dicle University, Anadolu University and Istanbul University were also severely criticized for misconduct and ill-treatment targeting students.
Mutlu explained the incident in detail in an article posted on the blog page of daily Radikal on April 16. Mutlu, from the Department of Political Sciences and Public Administration of the ODTÜ Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, is also the representative of Eğitim-Sen at ODTÜ.