Police attack student gathering at University of Ankara.  Mistaking Spanish songs as Kurdish, the police bans playing songs.
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Students of Faculty of Communication organized a solidarity gathering for their expelled teachers.   Sharing food and music, the event was named “PanHayir” a made-up name resembling “street fair” in Turkish but also referencing the word “no” indicating the choice in the upcoming referendum where the government is pushing for a “yes” vote.

The event was organized to express support for the 16 academicians fired by the government with a decree without any investigation or any recourse.  Using an executive order the government in Turkey can fire public workers without any due process.

 

Under this decree, the Turkish government has fired tens of thousands of workers since last year picking those who do not pledge allegiance to president Erdoğan or his AKP government.  Later these positions are all filled up with government sympathizers who are not even qualified.

 

The surprise resistance of the academicians to stay at their jobs and to continue communicating and demonstrating with their students and supporters created irritation within the government and its appointed clerks, the rectors of the universities.  Every peaceful event for the expelled teachers was confronted by a brutal police attack.  The “PanHayir” event too didn’t bode well with the Turkish police called in by the university administration. 

 

The Faculty of Communication lost 16 of its academicians when in Early February 2017 the infamous Decree 686 expelled 72 teachers in the latest wave of firings.  More than 300 academicians have been fired by the government and have been labelled “dissidents.”  Now 40 undergraduate and 29 graduate classes are left with no instructors.

 

The “PanHayir” event is a traditional fair the students organize every year as a social gathering.  However this year the event was changed to support the fired teachers as well as undergoing a name change to indicate the voting preference of the students and the faculty. 

 

The Turkish government is pushing for a “yes” vote in the upcoming referendum on April 16th.  If the “no” vote does not win, and the dictatorial president Erdoğan’s dictated “yes” vote wins, the entire branches of the government will be ruled by the president with parliament becoming only a theatrical distraction.  Whereever an event calling for a “no” vote has been organized the police have attacked and arrested the participants.  The “yes” voters, on the other hand, are enjoying a powerful government support to a degree where journalists have been fired for saying they favor the “no” vote to protect the last remaining pieces and crumbs of what may appear like a democracy.

 

It wasn’t long before the students sharing food and music were surrounded by the police called in by the university administration.  Ordering the students to disperse the police however was not able to present the university’s call document for police to intervene.  Reacting to the peaceful social gathering with food, music, singing and balloons, the police tried forcing the students to evacuate the area now known as “the new open.”  The area was renamed by the academicians and the students as it became the open space where the fired academicians have continued their lectures free and openly to their students and to the public.

 

The students who demanded to see the order to disperse from the school but were not presented with the document, they refused to leave.  Then the police first attacked the banners supporting the teachers.  Then the police attacked the balloons and started popping them.  Not stopping with their struggle with the balloons, police then attacked the food table.  The students resisted the assault by chanting against the police and support for the fired professors.  The police then demanded all to leave immediately so that they could “separate the apple from oranges.”  The government and the police accuse the demonstrators to be terrorists who infiltrate the “good” and obedient students.  The students then responded that they were all apples and belonged to the school, while the police were the oranges who had no place to be in an academy.

 

The police also demanded the public playing of Spanish music to be stopped.  The reason, captain explained, was, “This is in Kurdish. It is illegal.  No one knows what the words of this Kurdish music is about, it could contain illegal political things!”  The Turkish government has been waging a terrorist war against its Kurdish population where currently there are several towns under siege of the military and the Turkish police where even the journalists or the Kurdish representatives are not allowed to enter.  Many reports have reached the media however from the population from the Kurdish towns under Turkish military control of massacres and open extrajudicial murders by the security forces.

 

After the police assault to balloons, music, signs and the food table, the students moved the stand to inside the building where the banners were hung again.  Articles donated by the fired academicians and the food sold at the event generated some money which was donated to Eğitim-Sen, the progressive Educator’s Union, a supporter of fired academicians.

 

The event ended with academicians, students and supporters dancing for resistance.

 

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