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The New Arab Staff

Istanbul University students take dig at new rector by blaring Metallica hits

Students have chosen songs with pertinent lyrics, such as 'Master of Puppets' [AFP]

Date of publication: 10 January, 2021

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Students at Bogazici University have been cheekily blaring Metallica classics at their protests against the appointment of the AKP party-linked rector, who is a fan of the group.
Turkish students protesting the appointment of university rector with ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party have blasted Metallica hits at their demonstrations, after the new AKP-linked head said he was a fan of the group.

Students at Istanbul's Bogazici University are seen in videos shared to social media blaring Metallica classics including 'Master of Puppets' and 'Sad But True'.

The choice of protest music came after Melih Bulu, a member of the ruling Justice Development Party, told a Turkish TV interview on Tuesday that he did not seek to change the elite university's culture, Bloomberg report.

"I am a rector who listens to hard rock, to Metallica", he said, in a thinly-veiled attempt to curry favour with Bogazici's student body.

Lyrics to the songs 'Master of Puppet' and 'Sad But True' appear to echo student's fears of Erdogan extending his grip over the university.

Protesters held up signs showing the Turkish leader as a puppet master, with Bulu among the figure controlled by him.

At least 36 people have been arrested in connection with the demonstrations, with two dozen detained in night-time raids in their homes on Thursday.

The arrested students were "severely beaten", their lawyer told local media.

Medical examinations corroborated the lawyer's statement, Turkish daily Hurriyet report.

Read more: Detained Turkish students 'beaten' after Istanbul University protests

The demonstrations against what students and academics see as a move to curtail academic freedom began on Monday.

Erdogan was granted the power to directly appoint university rectors shortly after a failed coup attempt in 2016, but prestigious universities like Bogazici had avoided the treatment.

Protesters have also accused Bulu of plagiarism and a poor grasp of English - the university's language of instruction.

Ruling party officials including Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu have accused the protesting students of links to terrorist organisations, without providing evidence for those claims.

Devlet Bahceli, an ally of Erdogan and leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) described the demonstrators as "terrorists' pawns and separatists dressed as students".

On Wednesday, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya banned "all kinds of meetings, demonstrations and marches" in the European side of Istanbul, where the university is located. Authorities also fenced off the university campus.

Demonstrators responded by regrouping in the Asian side of Istanbul, calling for the release of detained protesters and the students' right to elect a rector.

New legislation has greenlit the use of military gear by security forces tackling "public incidents", sparking fears that continued protests may face a fiercer crackdown. 

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