The Technical University in Istanbul has been closed and the date for the reopening of Istanbul University postponed following the murder of a professor on Friday (20 October).
The Technical University in Istanbul has been closed and the date for the reopening of Istanbul University postponed following the murder of a professor on Friday (20 October). Professor Bedri Karafakioglu of the Technical University was gunned down as he left his home. He is the third academic to be killed in Turkey, in a year marked by a sharp escalation in political feuding which has claimed the lives of hundreds of people.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of people who turned out for the funeral of Professor Karafakioglu were faced with police searches as they arrived at the Technical University in Istanbul. The area was sealed off and surrounded by twelve hundred armed police.
The death of Professor Karafakioglu marks the first murder of a university faculty member in Istanbul. He was known as a liberal academic of moderate political views, as the leftist dominated Technical University. So far no one has been charged with the killing.
Troops and police waited outside the building where the funeral took place. Premier Bulent Ecevit, whose government has been facing strong criticism for failing to take strong measures to end the wave of political murders, expressed regret over Friday's killing. he promised recently to put an end to political violence.
Tensions ran high and scuffling broke out among the various leftist factions at the university. There have been calls by the National Action Party for a return to material law, but President Ecevit maintains that rising terrorism can be dealt with through democratic means.
Premier Ecevit says two thousand people are under arrest in Turkey on charges of political terrorism, half of them rightist terrorists and about 700 who belong to various left-wing groups.
At one point during the funeral a security forces' officer lectured a group of students who were unfurling a banner carrying Communist slogans. The colonel told them that a funeral was not the placed for a political rally. The assassination of Professor Karafakioglu comes in the wake of statements by the Prime Minister that Turkey is gradually bringing terrorism, its major domestic problem under control, but provides more ammunition for critics demanding stronger measures by his government.