Turkish prosecutors seek jail terms for anti-government student protesters

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04/21/2021

Turkish prosecutors are seeking prison sentences for 97 people for taking part in one of the country’s biggest anti-government protest movements in years, sparked by the state appointment of a new rector at Istanbul’s most prestigious university in January. The issue became an unexpected catalyst for Turkey’s youth to vent their frustrations at both the crackdown by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on civil liberties and the government’s failure to get an economic crisis under control. Sporadic clashes with police lasted for weeks in early 2021. The protests spread to the streets of Istanbul and other big cities with the backing of government opponents and supporters of broader LGBT rights after the president accused the demonstrators of being “terrorists” and “LGBT youth” working against Turkey’s “national and spiritual values”.

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