Erdoğan slams US campus protests amidst own bans

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has weighed in on the ongoing U.S. college campus protests regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza, criticizing what he perceives as heavy-handed measures by authorities against pro-Palestinian students and academics. He highlighted instances of crackdowns and arrests during demonstrations at prestigious American universities like Columbia University.


During an event in Ankara, Erdoğan expressed solidarity with conscientious students and academics, including anti-Zionist Jewish individuals, who are protesting against the violence in Gaza. He condemned the treatment of these protesters, citing violence, cruelty, and even torture faced by them for advocating an end to the Gaza massacre.

Erdoğan also mentioned similar criticisms from Turkish universities toward U.S. academic institutions. However, it’s worth noting that both Erdoğan’s administration and Turkish universities have faced criticism for suppressing street protests and student movements within their own campuses.

Just prior to Erdoğan’s comments, his government had banned May Day celebrations in Istanbul, leading to police clashes with protestors. Similarly, Turkish students have faced attacks from campus security and riot police when opposing government or university policies, including protests related to Palestine and criticisms of Turkey’s relations with Israel.

Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, has been vocal in condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza, contrasting it with what it sees as unwavering support from Western nations like the U.S., a major military aid provider to Israel.

Erdoğan criticized what he views as Western democracy’s limitations influenced by Israel’s interests, suggesting that any actions against these interests are labeled as anti-democratic or antisemitic by Western powers.

Regarding casualties, as of May 2, more than 34,596 Palestinians in Gaza had been killed during Israel’s nearly seven-month military campaign.