A series of tense incidents has taken place at some of Turkey’s universities, including İstanbul University and the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), over the past couple of weeks as pro- and anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) groups of students continue to clash. Today ZAMAN report
Twenty-seven pro-ISIL students were detained by police after a quarrel erupted with anti-ISIL students at İstanbul University’s faculty of economics and administrative sciences on Monday.
The pro-ISIL students, who reportedly had their faces covered, wearing black hats and holding sticks, were heard shouting phrases like, “We are Muslim students,” as they were taken to police vehicles. Nine of the detained students are allegedly affiliated with Muslim Youths Association which is known for its radical Islamist tendencies.
The detained students were taken to the İstanbul Police Department’s anti-terror office for interrogation after undergoing health checks at a hospital.
Some anti-ISIL students at the university’s campus issued a press statement after the attack, saying: “We, students of the İstanbul University, have been subject to the aggression of ISIL supporters who have blood on their hands. ISIL militants are known for their aggression. They murder children and rape women in Rojava and Kobani. Those pro-ISIL ‘so-called’ students with black masks attacked us with sticks.”
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has been the target of criticism for failing to act against ISIL to save Kobani. Violent protests against ISIL attacks and AK Party policy led to the deaths of 34 people last week
The anti-ISIL students also accused the AK Party government for failing to act against ISIL activity in Turkey and blamed university security for doing nothing to halt the attack. “Look at those people. They come to our university and make propaganda in favor of ISIL without any prevention. They get their power from the AK Party. The government is sending truckloads of guns to the ISIL gangs to murder people in Rojava. We would not be surprised if ISIL militants organize attacks on Turkish cities,” the students said.
On Oct. 1, three pro-ISIL students were detained by police after a quarrel erupted between students at the university. The students who were attacked said pro-ISIL students came after them while they were hanging anti-ISIL banners around the campus.
On Oct. 4, a fight again erupted after pro-ISIL students attacked another group holding an anti-ISIL protest inside the university.
In a seperate case on Oct. 10, a student of İstanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University and the grandson of famed lawyer Nejat Ağırnaslı was killed while fighting against the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The sociology graduate student had joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to fight against the terrorist group in the Turkish-Syrian border town of Kobani, where battles have raged over the past few weeks. The 30-year-old man traveled to the region as a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) and was one of many who have been crossing the border to take up arms against ISIL forces.
His father, Hikmet Cur, released a statement saying: “I lost my son, my comrade, my Nejat, in Kobani. Although he had a very bright future, he chose revolutionary solidarity. He kept his promise. He has not let me down.” He went on to say, “I bow down to him with respect.”
Meanwhile, police used water cannons and tear gas on Oct. 9 to disperse demonstrations held at two universities in Ankara in protest ISIL attacks on the Syrian-Kurdish town of Kobani. At ODTÜ, demonstrators who wanted to march from the university to the Ankara office of the ruling AK Party were blocked by police at the school’s gate. Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd.