Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Students facing prison--again

On March 4, GIT - North America presented a special dossier on students and the hardships, violence, imprisonment that they were subjected to as part of the government's "Discipline and Punish" campaign against dissidents in collaboration with AKP-Abdullah Gül-appointed university presidents and security forces. As part of this, we published TODI (Initiative for Solidarity with Students in Prison) signature campaign call, an interview with a TODI member--Ekim Arbatlı whose brother is also in prison, and TODI statement prepared for GIT, in addition to the Students Collective account on violence against students on campus, a report on the controversial Bologna process, as well as an account of a symbolic course offered in front of Bakirkoy Women's Prison. To see a full account of this issue please visit 

Similarly, we had also reported before various grievances against students, including the case of Mikail Boz who was suspended from school for criticizing the lack of transparency in appointing a Dean to the School of Communication at Marmara University.

Here is another example of the students becoming targets for "discipline and punish" policies; Serhat Korkmaz writes on Bianet:

"Poster Trial

Students Face 25 Years in Jail - Evidence: Posters

University students Alkan and Söylemez were detained for six months on the grounds of certain posters they carried before they were released pending trial. Due to a recent legal amendment the prosecutor was allowed additional time till the next hearing to present his final plea.


bianet talked to defendant Özgür Alkan. He said, "This trial is an indicator for how much freedom of expression is being restricted in this country. Not even [indictments about] murderers seek prison sentences as high as sought for my friend and me".

What happened?

At a demonstration organized by the TTB on 13 March in Ankara, students Alkan and Söylemez carried a poster that showed the pictures of three revolutionists who were executed in the course of the military coup on 12 September 1980. The banner featured the slogan "Executions don't intimidate us - Ethem Çoşkun, Seyit Konuk, Necati Vardar; the warriors of 13 March are alive; Leninists are fighting".

The indictment put forward that the students posted a banner reading "Those who fell in Kızıldere are alive in our fight - Revolutionary Students Union" at another demonstration on 30 March. According to the indictment, the event was allegedly held to commemorate Mahir Çayan, murdered leader of the Turkey's People's Liberation Party-Front (THKP-C). The students were taken into police custody during a crackdown on their hall of residence and arrested on 4 May.

Items found in their rooms in the course of the search and classified as "evidence of crime" include going to the March Culture, Arts and Thoughts Association; being the founder of the association; possession of that association's magazine; the book "War and Peace" by Tolstoy; post cards of Deniz Gezmiş; books of Mahir Çayan or a photo calendar or Deniz Gezmiş."

To read the full news, please visit: