Boğaziçi University Rectorate has initiated a disciplinary investigation against the faculty members who participated in the 15-minute silent protest. The protests are alleged to be "in violation of the law" and have a "disruptive effect on the functioning of the university."

While the vigil initiated by Boğaziçi University academics in protest of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's appointment of Melih Bulu as rector continues, the university administration has launched a disciplinary investigation into the faculty members participating in the vigil.

So far, 13 academics have been subject to disciplinary investigations, with the justification that the protests were "in violation of the law" and had a "disruptive effect on the functioning of the university." The Boğaziçi University administration cited the letters from the Rectorate dated June 1, 2023, and July 7, 2023, as the basis for the allegations of "illegality" in the disciplinary investigation.

In these letters, the vigils were alleged to be in violation of Article 22 of Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations, which falls under the heading of "forbidden places." Furthermore, the Rectorate stated that the silent protests caused potential university applicants to "hesitate" and that legal, penal, and administrative actions would be initiated against the faculty members who continued the protests.

Response from the Academics

Boğaziçi University academics expressed their objection to the ongoing investigation through a statement. They reminded that their right to peaceful demonstration is guaranteed by the Constitution and emphasized that their vigils were not subject to any notification, permission, or administrative authority.

Boğaziçi University academics also underlined that their vigils did not disrupt any administrative or academic processes and that banning them would constitute a violation of their rights.

They concluded by stating, "Despite all prohibitions and threats, we will continue to pursue the injustices committed and draw attention to the administrative crisis within our university. We will continue to express our objections in different forms while staying within the bounds of peace and legality to preserve the freedom-loving, pluralistic, and egalitarian structure of our university."

What happened?

With a Presidential decision published in the Official Gazette, President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Prof. Melih Bulu, an academic from outside Boğaziçi University's academic community, as the rector of the university on January 2, 2021, which was met with harsh criticism and protests of students, academics and alumni.

Amid these protests, Erdoğan removed Bulu from office with a Presidential decision on July 15; the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) appointed his vice-rector Prof. Naci İnci as the acting rector.

The YÖK accepted applications for the rectorship of Boğaziçi University till August 2 and President Erdoğan has appointed Prof. Naci İnci, who accepted his appointment as a vice-rector while his two students from the Physics Department were arrested over the protests, dismissed Can Candan and Feyzi Erçin from the university and received a vote of no confidence from 95 percent of Boğaziçi academics.