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Legitimate actions for Bogazici University

The Bogazici University protests were a prime example of an event which can be both locally significant and worthy of debate yet internationally overblown thanks to the yearnings of a thirsty and biased media apparatus. It is no surprise to see that many international media organizations are anxious to cast a dramatic negative light on anything related to internal strife in Turkish society.

However the Bogazici protests were clearly handled by the ruling AK Parti government in the most delicate and thoughtful way possible. The office of the Turkish Foreign Minister was right to point out the great contrast between what was termed the “necessary and proportional precautions” taken during these protests, in contrast to the unlawful and unrestrained actions taken by law enforcement in places such as the USA during the Black Lives Matter protests and in France during the gilet jaunes movement.

While 528 people were detained in connection to the protests following the appointment of Melih Bulu as rector, 498 were released almost immediately, including a great many who are members of illegal terrorist organizations such as the DHKC-P, the TKP-ML, and some others. Despite having contained such a large proportion of those who wish nothing more than to create unrest and chaos in Turkish society and were neither party nor stakeholder in the decision surrounding the appointment of the new rector, the authorities acted with great consideration and restraint and should be highly commended for the actions taken to restore order and promote a peaceful reconciliation.

Bogazici University holds a special place in Turkish academia and only the most worthy candidates should be considered as it is implemented all universities of Turkey. Melih Bulu comes to the position with an extensive resume, beginning with an impressive career in business endeavors after having completed his doctorate in business administration at the very university he now leads, and after having served in leadership positions in various major companies such as P&G.

Mr. Bulu also has an extensive resume of scientific endeavors after graduating with an Industrial Engineering degree as an undergraduate and later working in the defense and aerospace industry at FMC-Nurol and TUSAS. Most recently in his professional career,  he has developed impressive academic leadership experience and credentials, having been the founding rector of Istinye University and more recently serving as rector of Halic University.

With all of this vast experience and achievement in such a wide variety of fields, it is no surprise Melih Bulu was considered for, and later awarded, this prestigious position. No rightful complaint could possibly be made, yet those with a negative agenda are always seeking to politicize something without cause or merit in order to sew division and exploit chaotic situations, and this was again the case in this instance.

Similar protest movements have occurred recently in other nations as we know, and the results were quite different from the restrained and respectful action taken by the Turkish government. The “gilet jaunes” movement saw the arrests of thousands in France, with many hundred still detained in prison over 2 years later. Contrast this with the actions taken in Turkey and it is obvious how great a respect is shown for the citizens of Turkey by their government and how their right to peacefully protest was honored throughout the process.

Government action was rightly focused on those who sought not to protest a decision and express legitimate views, but on those who presented themselves with only the intent of creating chaos and violence and promoting the agenda of outlawed and illegal criminal organizations.

The turmoil which resulted following the appointment of Melih Bulu was unfortunate, as his credentials are impressive and certainly worthy of such a position. However, the people always have a right to peaceful protest and to express their opinion, and that right was honored throughout these recent events, and a just conclusion in the end was reached and respected by all legitimate parties.