Middle East Technical University under attack from the Turkish government

The five students who had potential to protest were picked up at early morning from their dorms and houses by the police. The police chief, reportedly, asked the students, “Look, just give the secret banners you will brandish in the ceremonies now, so as not to waste our time.”

Middle East Technical University under attack from the Turkish government

Middle East Technical University (METU) is one of the top universities in Turkey. An Ivy league school of Turkey, one might say. It was established with the coordination of the US to give both the highest level of education and build up much needed sympathy and friendship for the US in Turkey where political upheavals against capitalism was a considered a great threat by NATO.

Things did not turn out that way, though. Obvious and in-your-face contradictions of capitalism in a NATO country were quickly picked up by the most well educated in the country. Middle East Technical University (METU) immediately became the center of revolutionary movement.

Even the brutal fascist 1980 coup, no matter how much it tried, was unable to diminish the leftist trend of the METU students.

Every year in the graduation ceremonies the students have marched with smart and witty banners that criticize the lack of human rights, class warfare of the rich, corporate dominance in the society and education. This is not taken lightly in a country governed by dictatorial powers of an ultimate leader.

This year, though, the government sensing that the students will again embarrass the government appointed University administration and the government took preventive measures. Even before the ceremonies started student leaders were put under preventive detention. The government openly stated that the students were detained because they had potential to protest in the upcoming graduation ceremonies.

The five students who had potential to protest were picked up at early morning from their dorms and houses by the police. The police chief, reportedly, asked the students, “Look, just give the secret banners you will brandish in the ceremonies now, so as not to waste our time.”

The METU student body protested the arbitrary detentions and said in a press release, “As the students of METU we will continue to support our arbitrarily detained friends, our democratic rights and our school.  The struggle for social equality and freedom can never be stopped.”

Middle East Education Staff Association (Orta Doğu Öğretim Elemanları Derneği) stands by the detained students

This association in their press release protested the detention of student by the police and rejected the premise that when thousands of students, their families, and hundreds of teachers participate in the ceremonies, five students would be unable to disrupt the event. The press release also emphasized the democratic tradition of the school, “METU has the democratic institutional culture to run the internal processes, including the protests at the graduation ceremonies, in a healthy way without any violence. Stop messing with my student!”

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