12/06/2023 | Writer: Selma Koçak

11th METU Pride March was attacked by the police even before it started. 15 students were detained. The detainee students were released at night. Despite the police attack, a huge trans flag was waved on campus.

METU students defended their pride! Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Photograph: ÜniKuir

6th METU Pride Week began on June 5. A serial of events has been carried out on campus until June 7. The Pride Week was planned to be completed with 11th METU Pride March on June 9, at 16.00 pm on North Lawn area.

Earlier on the march, trustee rector Verşan Kök once again urged all students to “stand against” pride march by sending an e-mail targeting LGBTI+s, just like he did last year.

Police blockaded the campus from the morning hours. They attacked students even before the march started. Many METU students were taken into custody. Students reacted against police violence by chanting slogans such as “Despite hate, long live life!” and “Don’t be afraid, shout, queers exist!”


Photograph: METU Media Group

Five students were detained by getting on the ground and handcuffing behind their back. Students who wanted to take video footage were also subjected to police violence. While the students, who were able to fly from police violence to library, were also taken into custody, a huge trans flag was waved from Mathematics Department building on campus.

Ten more students, who were waiting at the taxi stand, were also detained by the unabated police. Two of detainee students were injured in the head.

Following their testimony at the police station, students were released at night. 

Reactions against police violence from MPs

Green Left Party İstanbul MP Özgül Saki reacted against police attack on METU Pride March. She posted a message on her social media accounts and said: “The police, who blockaded the campus even before the 11th METU Pride March started, began to detain students by using violence and force. You will not be able to ban Pride Marches! Release detainee students.”

Labor Party Gaziantep MP Sevda Karaca emphasized the state violence through the police:

“A state violence is being experienced through the police on trustee Verşan Kök’s hands, at #OnBirinciODTÜOnurYürüyüşü (Eleventh METU Pride March). Students are being detained by using violence and force at the march, which has been targeted for days. The government’s hate policy against LGBTI+s, come into existence on campus. Riot police have no business on campus!

We stand by METU students against oppressive policies pursued by one-man, who prevents students from existing equally and freely on campus and stop them from gathering around their fundamental rights, and his trustee rector!”

Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir MP Gökçe Gökçen also shared a message on her social media accounts:

"Right to assembly and demonstration is once again being violated at METU. Students, who aim to carry out Pride March by exercising their constitutional rights, are being detained by using violence and force from their library. We have witnessed the same right violation against Ege University students and İzmir Bar Association in recent days. We are close followers of all, we will struggle all together against systematic hate crimes.”

Green Left Party İstanbul MP Kezban Konukçu said: “LGBTI+s exist, you cannot disregard them with oppression!”

Green Left Party Diyarbakır MP Sevilay Çelenk said: “I condemn police intervention and detentions in the pride march at METU today. Stop hatred and discrimination!”

Green Left Party İzmir MP Burcugül Çubuk also shared a message:

“METU Pride March was carried out today, despite two-day blockade, police attack and detentions. Taking the participants into custody under torture, even the march was completed, can only be explained by hatred. We will build the new life in solidarity against hatred!”

And Green Left Party Mersin MP Perihan Koca said: “State violence is in force under the guidance of trustee Verşan Kök at #OnBirinciODTÜOnurYürüyüşü (Eleventh METU Pride March), and students are being detained. We stand by METU students and LGBTI+s against hatred and hostility policies targeting LGBTI+s.”

Tags: human rights