College Students in Turkey Blast Metallica to Protest Appointment of New Chancellor
Students at a university in Istanbul have taken to loudly playing Metallica songs as part of their ongoing protest against a new state-appointed rector (commonly known as a chancellor or college president in North America) installed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The objections broke out Monday (Jan. 4) on the campus of Bogazici University, one of the country's top academic institutions, after Erdogan named Melih Bulu the school's new rector last week, according to Reuters. Bulu is a member of Turkey's ruling AK Party, a political organization known in the region for its conservative and populist agenda. Students called the appointment undemocratic.
See some video of the protests down toward the bottom of this post.
By Wednesday, as reported by BloombergQuint, the protests included students publicly airing Metallica songs such as "Master of Puppets" and "Sad But True" as part of their resistance to the new chancellor. The tunes doubled as a dig on Bulu, who claimed in a recent interview to be a "rector who listens to hard rock, to Metallica" and didn't want to change the university's culture.
In a statement that emerged on social media, Bogazici faculty members called the selection "yet another case of many ongoing anti-democratic practices since 2016." Joining students in objecting to the appointment, they added, "We do not accept it, as it clearly violates academic freedom and scientific autonomy as well as the democratic values of our university."
The instructors also pointed out that Bulu's the first rector chosen from outside a university since a military coup in Turkey in 1980.
As the protests began, students loudly made their disagreement known on campus. Social media footage showed hundreds displaying signs demanding Bulu's resignation, and they chanted slogans such as "Melih Bulu is not our rector" and "We don't want a state-appointed rector."
Bulu holds a doctorate in finance from Bogazici. In 2015, he was a candidate in Turkey's general election. At a news conference amid the protests, an AK Party spokesman denied that Bulu's installment was undemocratic: "We do not base appointments on the political affiliations of academics," they said.
It's not the first time hard rock or heavy metal has been used as protest music. For example, protestors in Portland, Ore., last summer chanted the lyrics to Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name" to object to the police killing of George Floyd that sparked unrest throughout the U.S.
Students Play Metallica at Bogazici University Protest - Jan. 6, 2021
Turkish Newscast Discussing Music Played at Bogazici Protest - Jan. 5, 2021