Students at Istanbul University have described the terrifying moments when supporters of the Islamic State jihadist group went on the rampage on their campus.
The attackers were furious that left-wing students had refused to take down posters that condemned ISIL’s murderous campaign in the Syrian border town of Kobani.
As the militants moved in, captured on camera from the balconies above, student Aysegul Korkut was among those on the receiving end.
“We barricaded ourselves in with tables,” she said.
“Glasses, plates were flying in the air. They were hurling them at us and we at them. Then they charged, cleared the barricade and started to come towards us. Three of our friends were injured.”
Media reports speak of other violent incidents at the campus with dozens of arrests made. Turkish academic Ahmet Kasim Han thinks extremism should be monitored.
“The spiral of radicalisation is such that if you do fail to notice it, it would climb to extremes in a very short period of time,” said Han, a political analyst and International Relations Professor at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University.
Students and graduates are said to frequent Osman Akyildiz’s Istanbul bookshop which sells publications and other paraphernalia about some of the world’s most notorious terror figures.
“They are terrorists in the eyes of Western countries,” Akyildiz said.
“But everyone’s definition of terrorist is different. For us, they are heroes.”
Istanbul remains a cosmopolitan metropolis – a city of contrasts where east meets west . Recent events however indicate a turbulent side beneath the surface.
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