Student’s suicide sparks debate about religious brotherhoods in Turkey

Istanbul, Jan 16 (EFE).- The suicide of a Turkish student who was living in a student dormitory run by a religious community has sparked a wave of protests in several cities across the country.

A month before killing himself, the medical student posted a video on social media denouncing “a lot of oppression” because of the religious indoctrination he suffered in his student residence in central Anatolia.

The 20-year-old, known only as Enes. K, left a suicide note that revealed that despite being an atheist, his parents forced him to live in the dorm where he was forced to perform daily prayers and attend religion classes.

Students in the residence should follow a rigid daily schedule based on the prayers’ timings, Enes denounced.

“I have maybe three or four hours left to myself. I am unhappy. I do not want to do this,” he said, adding that he feared discussing his feelings with his parents.

Firat University students staged a protest on Friday in front of the medical college, calling for an investigation into the situation in the student residences of the Muslim Brotherhood religious communities.

Thousands of students also took to Istanbul’s streets on the same day, calling for an investigation and the closure of these types of residences, criticizing the increase in housing rent in many Turkish cities.

Istanbul authorities banned the protest and 83 students were briefly arrested.

“The government cannot even tolerate the voices of young people, it prefers to silence them rather than listen,” said Özgür Özel, deputy chairman of the main opposition party, the Social Democracy Party.

“Enes K. was one of thousands of young people condemned to have no future and to live in brotherhood residences,” the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP denounced.

For its part, the government of the conservative Islamist party AKP expressed “deep sadness” over the young man’s suicide and criticized opposition parties and students who protested against religious brotherhoods. EFE


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