26/03/2021 | Writer: Yıldız Tar

“LGBTI+ flag cannot be criminalized. We will not let it happen.”

Disciplinary investigation against the student with rainbow flag at Boğaziçi University Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Boğaziçi University has launched a disciplinary investigation into a student carrying a rainbow flag during protests against the appointment of a rector.

N.D., who raised a rainbow flag during protests attacked by police on February 1, targeted by a disciplinary investigation that says "you went upstairs and waved the LGBTI+ flag".

During the police blockade around the Boğaziçi, the rainbow flag was among the most shared images on social media.

“We exist, we existed and we will continue to exist”

N.D. talked to KaosGL.org about the process: "All kinds of unlawfulness, night raids, unjust detentions, arrests and house arrests that we have experienced during the 80-day period of the Boğaziçi resistance" said N.D.:

"In the midst of all the hopelessness, all I felt was desperation as we faced law enforcement officers who wouldn't let us leave the Etiler gate of the Boğaziçi University South Campus, which was turned into an open prison on February 1st. Even when we said we wanted to go home, they wouldn't let us out, we were being held in our own university against our will. Dozens of our fellow citizens who came to our call to action were subjected to the disproportionate violence of the law enforcement and many of our friends were detained. We were hearing the news of these while we were not allowed to leave school. That was the desperation I felt. As I looked around with eyes full of tears, I saw the ladder on the left side of the school gate. I wasn't thinking of anything. I wanted to go out there and make my voice heard. I wanted to scream, 'Enough of this oppression. Enough of your cruelty. Enough of your trustee and enough of you. I can't breathe'. As I walked up the stairs, I heard all the slogans glorifying student solidarity. I saw an LGBTI+ flag in someone's hand, I climbed the stairs with that flag saying I'd give it back soon. There was a police cameraman upstairs. Snipers on the roof across the street. There were a lot of cops outside the school gates that I could see. When I raised the flag, all I could think about was, we exist, we existed and we will continue to exist. No trustees, no hate, no fear, no night raids. Nothing will scare us, we will not give up."

"Who are the people who incite enmity and hatred? Who are the people who made us students to be labeled as terrorists, who masculinized every institution that they could reach, who placed 'government officers' everywhere unfairly and without merit? A disciplinary investigation was initiated under the pressure of this mentality, which bogeyed that photo which already surpassed me; frightened of our hope, our resilience." said N.D., reminding the lawsuits against the students.

“LGBTI+ flag cannot be criminalized” 

N.D. also mentioned that the security unit tried to dismantle the ladder and detain N.D. upstairs while they was up there. "If the students had not prevented this by resisting; I was going to be alone upstairs with a law enforcement officer that I guess would make an attempt against my life. But neither I nor any of us are never alone. Strong and determined, this student solidarity will leave no one to the fear and oppression of this government."

N.D. finalized their words as criticizing the investigation:

"We were never afraid to express our demands, we did not give up our demands. We demand the immediate release of all our friends who have been unlawfully arrested, the withdrawal of all trustees assigned to universities, especially the one at Boğaziçi, and the re-installment of the rector elections, which would include all components of universities in order to protect their autonomous and democratic structure. We will continue to scale up our resistance to protect the democratic values of the Boğaziçi and our safe living spaces, until our demands are met. Neither investigations, arrests, nor cowardly decisions can turn us away from this path. Let them get used to it, we're here, we're defending our rights and our university. The LGBTI+ flag cannot be criminalized. We will not let it happen."

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz

Tags: human rights, education