Riot police fire rubber bullets to disperse a gathering in solidarity with students from Bogazici University protesting against the appointment of Melih Bulu as the new rector of the university in Istanbul, Turkey, on February 2, 2021. REUTERS / Umit Bektas
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday rejected international criticism of its response to months of protests at one of the country’s top universities, warning that such criticism could lead to so-called illegal acts.
Students and teachers at Istanbul’s Bogazici University have protested against President Tayyip Erdogan’s appointment of Melih Bulu, an academic and former political candidate, as rector. You say the process was undemocratic.
“We warn certain circles (abroad) against using language-promoting groups that use illegal channels and promote illegal activities,” said the Foreign Ministry, without naming specific countries.
“There is nobody’s place to intervene in Turkey’s internal affairs,” it said in a statement.
The United States said Wednesday it was concerned about the detention of students and other protesters and condemned alleged anti-LGBTQI rhetoric related to the protests.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called some of the student protesters “LGBT dissenters” while Erdogan said on Wednesday that there was “no LGBT”.
The United Nations Human Rights Bureau also called for an end to the excessive use of violence against students and protesters, and in a tweet condemned “the officials’ homophobic and transphobic comments”.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Letter from Ezgi Erkoyun; Adaptation by Dominic Evans