Turkish state in unprovoked brutality against students

1,000 students have clashed with the police at the METU University in Ankara, Turkey. The students were protesting the visit of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who has been pushing an agenda of privatisation across higher education in Turkey for the last couple of years.

Submitted by working class … on December 25, 2012

The demonstration started at 15.50 and was peaceful. At 16.15, without warning or provocation, over 3,000 police officers attacked the protesters, using rubber bullets, irritant gas, and water cannons. Scores of students are reported to have been injured, with at least one on a life support machine in hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage after being hit by a tear gas canister.

The police report having used 2000 tear gas canisters, 80 sound bombs, and 8 water canon vehicles. 12 students have been arrested and charged with assaulting police officers, and have been refused their legal right of speaking to a solicitor – no reason has been given for this.

In the days since the protest a number of addresses across Ankara have been raided as the police attempt to find the ‘ring leaders’. Anti-terror legislation is being used as the basis for the raids.

Hundreds of students have subsequently held further protests to demand the release of the detainees, and have even marched to the prime ministers offices. Many academic staff at METU are refusing to teach until all prisoners have been released.

A witness to the brutality reports that:

“Police were casting tear gas bombs at students every 30 seconds. They were even attacking harshly as students were retreating. Police might be seeking revenge from previous student protests”.

Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government to launch a ‘speedy’ and comprehensive investigation as to what actually happened….. I am not quite sure that asking the state to look into its own violence will get the desired results.

The Turkish Prime Minister has given an interview on TV dismissing accusations that the police were ‘heavy handed’ in their response to demonstrating students.

Solidarity protests have taken place across Turkey. In Adana students were subjected to attacks with rubber bullets and gas, leaving dozens injured. In Mershin students protested on the steps of the University management offices. In Eskieshir police set up barricades and fired gas canisters at hundreds of students, and were attacked by private security guards. Similar protests occurred at campuses in Izmir, Trabzon, and Kocaeli.

Within the last few hours the detained students have all been released on bail.



11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on December 26, 2012

Hey, thanks for reporting (on a sub editing note, I have swapped the tag "violence" for "repression". Violence is for theoretical articles about political violence, repression is for articles about violent state repression)


11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by austinpaul on December 27, 2012

This decision should not be followed. There is no need to apply privatization on higher education. This will ruin the lives of many students.

mikail firtinaci

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on December 27, 2012

Solidarity boycotts are taking place in major universities in Ankara and Istanbul today. Some pictures from today's demos and boycotts:

Galatasaray Uni:

A picture from the 2 days long METU occupation that recently ended:

more pics here: http://www.sendika.org/yazi.php?yazi_no=50408

The protests have spread to other universities after the rectors of some of the universities signed a joint declaration blaming the METU students for the incidents. Then the professors and students started demos and boycotts at those universities demanding the rectors to withdraw their signatures or resign.

mikail firtinaci

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on December 27, 2012

More pics from today's demos. From METU:

University security attacking students of Istanbul Technical University showing solidarity with METU:


Students from Istanbul, Istanbul Tech, Yildiz Tech and Mimar Sinan Universities entered Galatasaray University in support of their boycott and occupation:

mikail firtinaci

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on December 27, 2012

Prime Minister Erdogan making a speech on student demos today, declared that they decided to increase the state credits given to students (monthly credits that are payed back after graduation) by %8.

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on December 27, 2012

Saw this on the Facebook of a (non radical) friend of mine who's at METU. Not sure who wrote it, and Google Translate has mangled it quite a bit, but I put it up here anyway for ref:

METU students got a letter from the Prime Minister.

"The Prime Minister;

Letters of this kind is usually "Mr." addressed the begins with "Sincerely" or "Best wishes" words, such as ends. He is so angry and so right, now do it a million times.

"Crucial to them if it's done", "do not enter into lessons out of this, but it is up to students for the growing of them" say teachers take courses in a Middle East Technical University student. METU students to be a special adjective, do not install a whole new meaning. But I realized that after watching röportajınızı, heard two medal of honor even if I put on my chest with my friends already: college, and especially METU students. And now, at the beginning of the day as one of the police have been exposed to, kampüsümde "you removed events" outlining tell.

Polisinizin the gas is famous. Text Lokumcu'yu killed on May 31, 2011, bakanınızın "natural, there is no harm", the safety manager at "taken as needed, is used as needed," said pepper gas. This gas can not be protected, you can not escape. Only the face and nose to reduce the impact scarf wraps, try to maintain direct contact with your body. After the advent of the gas takes the lemon and vinegar, try to ease your pain. If you suffer from lungs source, the gas is fatal. Illness does not exist, create one of these gases as dangerous as the disease. In summary, this is a chemical weapon, is one of the symbols of fascism.

On December 18 the campus have taken notice of future capital, taken peşkeş science, against the imperialist intervention in Syria make peace and the brotherhood of peoples to come to the front to defend the building of TUBITAK, gathered here in order to make a press release. Which is one of the most basic rights, the right to protest using it as a tool in the walking, chanting slogans. Polisinizin shields even yaklaşamamışken 100 meters, it is a formality "spread out" even without warnings 5-6 gas bombs thrown hand heard the explosion. Trying to get out of the gas cloud, accompanied by coughs and breathing constrictions retreated backwards. Meanwhile, the police continued to throw tear gas bombs non-stop (they still threw sound bombs accompanied polisinizin until later). That is after them for you "banditry" you "the country" to finish the legitimate direnişimizdi. On "Do not directly, pose a fire hazard", although it is written thousands of tear gas bombs thrown at us nişanlanarak covered campus that day. Police, our friends coplayıp death, kicked the "detention not do now, will trouble us," and left.

Panzers to the middle school entry. Pressurized water, HOD Physics canteen employees trying to save his car even had its share of transport.

"Clutch Bags were carrying Molotov replied that" Do you not find another slander? I wish I geliştirseydiniz a convincing lie. The media painted this, you say, but the people did not believe in them, their law. Believe, too. We laughed when we caught hold of kaburgalarımızı. Is very funny, but sees a kısmımızın police violence, a kısmımızın due to run in the ribs too ağrımaktaydı panzer driven toward them. Even the shoulder, holding a woman friend laughed, because it had grazed his shoulder gas cartridge on December 18.

Also, I just write what's in my purse that day: 0.5 liter PET bottle for drinking water, one of the books of poetry, including three books from the library that day's lessons, the paper notes, pencils, an eraser and a bookstore that Kızılay literary magazine.

You were right to speak on the abundance, the place was annoyed, I pretended to be moved by the place came. I have these lines, the fact that others do not tell you, I'm writing all their rightness and sincerity. If you had told bilineceğine less, almost for sure.

You "arrest", "read souls" are willing to continue to give orders. I'm sleeping on a sofa, a kolumla to work on my right to protect my friend, on the other kolumla my head slightly to prevent flare-gas bomb-closing, a popping sound in my head walking around, jumping wake up still. Then another dream, I see 20 feet away from me Peace polisinizin hit a curb stacked in blood on the left. Media is so effective that, as if my head was not shot his friend "Find a Car", "Call an ambulance" bağırışlarına-one witnesses were not, as you want them "smell infect" If I were a student, perhaps, "I wonder if his friends hit you" she said, believed your media. But now there is no way that, sökmeyecek distortions.

Kötülemelerinize and exposure to iftiralarınıza honored. This means that I'm on the right. This means that, years later I look at my children, I can see them through the eyes of ta. "Dad, you're in college, what did you do?" To the question "defended my school, my friends defense. My teachers got up to throw mud, defended them. "That I call. My eyes will not miss them, say, my voice will not hesitate to jot down.

This resistance against an army equipped with professional bodies facing gas bombs, water cannons panzers and METU students who wrote an epic shield. Stanford University as a university responsibility, know and historical task, the task goes to the back of a banner. It will be remembered for years to come.

Nay fascism school on December 18, 2012. Our Ant would it be, we yaşatacağız freedom. Our friends, our teachers, our schools, our neighborhoods, our streets, we will defend our might. Public zulmettiğiniz everywhere, we're gonna encounter.

Khaled Rifat Pasha, the Ottoman period, the Governor of Sivas "is not your place can not go." Said command.

Really, from the country in which you are talking about?

Signature: college youth, a student resisted fascism

Also chatted to another - vaguely radical - Turkish mate about it, seems like there's a growing student movt against privatisation which links in with a growing perception of Erdogan as a dictator.

EDIT: found marginally better translator


11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by redsdisease on December 27, 2012

Yeah, keep them coming if you can. I'm not finding any other recent english language coverage of this.

mikail firtinaci

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on December 27, 2012

Basically, the right wing people and govt. has this fear that the only possible challenge to their rule may come from a military coup. The ruling right wing/islamist AKP is in power since 2002 and its votes have risen since then. And they think that it is usually through the student protests that the way to military coups have been prepared. As a matter of fact 1960 and 1971 military coups* really began with mass student demos. METU (the uni. that the student protests started) had played a significant role for the left in Turkey. 1971 coup process began when the university was closed down for its alleged role for being the bastion of the urban guerrilla movement led by Deniz Gezmis and at the time it was alleged that his group after kidnapping a few US soldiers from a close by nato base hid in METU.

However, for the left, since 2002 Erdogan became more and more authoritarian and overtly islamist. After the clean up operations in military liquidating anti-islamist kemalist generals, the AKP govt. became virtually unchallenged except the opposition by the Kurdish nat. lib. movement mostly powerful in south east of the country. So this sudden student protest has been one of the most significant challenge against the government prestige in recent years except the TEKEL occupation in Ankara. Usually govt. could legitimize any police brutality by claiming that this brutality is a form of defense against kemalist authoritarianism or PKK. However, in recent student demos most of the professors in major universities has shown solidarity and sympathy with the students. So, AKP govt. faced a single united bloc and Erdogan's aggressive comments about the professors did nothing but fostered this unity and activity.

As of today, the occupation in Galatasaray University can be regarded to be succesfull of forcing the rector to withdraw his support from a statement of rectors denigrating the METU students and professors. The rector of the university willy nilly stated that he did not want to criticize the METU students but "the violence in general." Plus, the demo of thousands of students and professors in METU made a public show that the opposition against Erdogan is not "marginal."

So for now, the student mobilization seem to achieve something important. This is primarily a show of strength on the part of the students and a (not definitive of course, but significant still) blow against the common psychological hegemony based on the idea, that Erdogan was popular and the only people against him are marginal ultra-leftists, PKK sympathisers or Kemalist elite.

*(both undermined right wing government but the second practically targeted the popular left and the workers' movement)