Erdogan’s Weaponization of Religion Is Losing Its Edge

Bogazici University students hold an LGBT flag and a placard that reads “the youth will win” at a protest in support of their detained friends in Istanbul, Feb. 3, 2021 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).
Bogazici University students hold an LGBT flag and a placard that reads “the youth will win” at a protest in support of their detained friends in Istanbul, Feb. 3, 2021 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).

For more than three months, Turkey has been rocked by rolling protests centered in Istanbul. Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s controversial appointment of businessman Melih Bulu as the new rector of Bogazici University in January, students and professors began holding rallies to denounce the pick. They see Bulu as an outsider and lackey for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish abbreviation AKP, and argue that his unilateral appointment is an unacceptable attempt to undermine the independence of one of Turkey’s most prestigious academic institutions. The scope of the demonstrations widened rapidly, as participants vented their frustrations with […]

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