Interior Minister Muammer Güler brought another dimension to the debate on mixed-student housing, arguing that many of these apartments harbored terror and other illegal activities, such as prostitution.
“We are considering the issue from the viewpoint of a fight against terrorism. Particularly apartments, student residences and lodging houses where university students are living are places that terror groups and other illegal groups are seeing as a resource for gaining support and finding new members,” Güler said during a press conference on Nov. 6 in Ankara.
Commenting on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks that the government was preparing to enact laws to “intervene” against homes housing both female and male students under one roof, Güler said the main reason for this was security.
“According to the latest observations, terrorist organizations and other marginal groups are in quests to use their youth organizations as a resources for their own activities … In the research that we have made on terrorism, we have seen that terrorist organizations are using the relationships between male and female students to a considerable extent to obtain the support of high school and university youth,” Güler said, adding many of these housings were places where terror suspects were hiding or activities such as prostitution were run.
Güler argued that the necessary legislation should be prepared to bring student homes under police supervision.
“Without any gender discrimination, we have seen during the last operations that apartments under the name of association centers or homes that young people were taught how to use guns or make bombs while they lived together. During the last operations, 31 of those detained were women,” Güler said, pointing at a “legal lacuna.”
“This is not about those houses [with mixed students] but cases in which those children are used for the illegal purposes of terrorist organizations. Families have the right to know where their children are. The state has the duty to take protective measures regarding their housing to protect the youth. This is the terror dimension [of the matter].”
Erdoğan blasted mixed-student houses during speeches, suggesting a rather moral approach, while he announced that the government was already on a mission to “segregate” female and males’ buildings in dormitories operated by the state.
His remarks have caused uproar with the opposition as well as students denouncing the interference of the government in private life.
6 November 2013