Turkey slams US criticism of Boğaziçi University protests

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in the capital Ankara, Turkey. (File Photo)
The Foreign Ministry on Thursday criticized the U.S.’s recent statement about the protests over the appointment of a new rector at Boğaziçi University, saying that it is nobody’s place to interfere in the internal affairs of Turkey.

In a statement, the ministry highlighted that Turkey guarantees the right to convene and protest under the Constitution.

Noting that security forces have been carrying out their responsibilities in line with the law, the ministry also revealed they had uncovered cases of individuals with ties to terrorist groups attempting to provoke the protesters.

“Necessary and proportional precautions are being taken against these unlawful acts,” the statement said.

“Recent images of disproportionate violence by security forces to innocent and civilian citizens in the slightest objection against the government in many countries – which have been called ‘developed’ democracies – are still in the memory,” it added.

The ministry had a word of advice for those trying to lecture Turkey on democracy and law while not taking into consideration the country’s legal approach to the situation, telling them to first “take a look at themselves.”

Turkey has been demonstrating its determination to protect fundamental rights and freedoms under the Constitution through the reforms it carries out and its continued fight against terrorism, the ministry noted.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that of the arrested, 79 were members of terrorist organizations, including the DHKP/C and TKP-ML.

Boğaziçi University, one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in Turkey, became the center of violent protests last month after the appointment of Melih Bulu as the rector. Just as the protests began to relatively die down, another incident occurred, sparking further outcry leading protesters to convene once more at the campus. Over the weekend, four people were detained when they unfurled a picture depicting the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site, with an LGBT flag.

Police have detained dozens of people over the past two days as violent riots broke out in the city’s Kadıköy district on the Asian side Tuesday evening. Demonstrators clashed with police trying to disperse their unauthorized rally, and 105 were detained for charges including resisting police, holding an unauthorized gathering and assault on a police vehicle.

All 30 students who were recently detained in the protests were released early Thursday on bail.

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