The Occupy movement has hit Turkey’s largest city, with university students staging an occupation of a campus outlet of one of America’s signature chains.
An the reasons for the protest will strike a familiar note here in Berkeley, where the planned admission of chain restaurants to the UC Berkeley campus sparked protests several years ago and led to the rise of a campus food cooperative movement.
It was members of an affiliated coop who were among the victims of UC Davis’s pepper-spraying cop, Lt. John Pike.
We note with interest that one of the protesters in Turkey hails from California.
From Hürriyet Daily News:
For three days more than 50 students have been occupying a Bogaziçi University campus Starbucks to protest campus food prices. The occupation follows a student march protesting the same.
Students brought their own coffee, tea, sandwiches and even carpets to Starbucks. The staff at the coffee shop is still on duty and serving free coffee to customers, but not protesters, during the occupation.
“Our goal is to draw attention to the big picture, which is about our campus life. It is surrounded by expensive stores, and day by day we are turning into consumers,” Yildiz Tar, a student of the political sciences and international relations department, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Students emphasized the low quality of university restaurants. “We feel obligated to go to fancy cafes, but it is not what we need. Starbucks is symbolic,” Tar said.
“We will stay in the cafe until they accept our terms and the campus belongs to us, not to the major companies,” James Kiger from California said. The students’ conditions to end the occupation were cheaper cafes, vegetarian options and healthier meals in restaurants.