Turkey's leading university administration bans events, closes student club

Turkey's one of the most prominent universities, Middle East Technical University (METU), administration banned social events, panel discussions and closed a student-run media centre, Bianet reported on Friday. 

The administration banned three events to be held at the university on Dec. 19 on the grounds of “electoral process” in the country. 

"Throughout the current electoral process in our country, the panel discussions and/or meetings to be held by political parties, communities, institutions or organizations outside our university or by the groups that are not official communities in our university will not be allowed," an email sent to the students by the administration said. 

The university authorities also closed the Media Community, a student club reporting on bans and demonstrations inside the campus. 

"In universities, which are supposed to be the home for all freedoms, lecture halls are locked up and the police conduct raids," Bianet quoted METU student representative, Özgür Gür, as saying. 

The Media Community released a statement following the incident and said there was an attempt to intimidate the students. 

"We are aware that closing the Media Community, which has been producing news with an impartial journalism understanding, and announcing it to all student organizations aim to intimidate all other constituents of the METU," the statement said. 

"We are making a call to all METU communities and all METU constituents to collaborate against this pressure and silencing attempts and to lay claim to METU's spirit of solidarity," the statement stressed. 

All student organisations and clubs in the university also released a joint statement in solidarity with the Media Community and protested the bans imposed on student events, according to Bianet.

The joint statement called the university administration, which "aims to prevent political and cultural discussions of students" according to students, to distance itself from its arbitrary administration.