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Students under investigation for refusing to sing Turkish national anthem

TURKISH prosecutors have opened investigations into nine students who allegedly refused to stand up and sing the national anthem at an event supporting the country’s illegal war on northern Syria.

The students were suspended by Mersin University for a month for their actions and now face charges of “public humiliation of the national anthem.” 

University authorities have also evicted one of the students, Huseyin Kartal, from campus accommodation.

Mr Kartal said: “We did not know about the event. The national anthem started. We continued to sit outside the event area without being involved.

“It is a democratic right to attend an event, it is a democratic right not to attend. These investigations are unlawful.” 

Authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded “national unity” in support of the Operation Peace Spring offensive.

Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria took place soon after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops from the region in September 2019.

Mr Erdogan’s administration has been accused of using the operation to carry out ethnic cleansing of Kurds, the extra-judicial killing of Kurdish politician Havrin Khalef and the use of chemical weapons, among other alleged war crimes.

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