Authorities issued arrest warrants Thursday for 59 suspects linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) for cheating on exams for admission into law enforcement and the judiciary.
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office sought the detention of 30 suspects accused of cheating and helping others cheat on a 2009 exam for the Police College, a prestigious school training future police chiefs. Twelve suspects were arrested in operations in 14 cities. The arrests came as part of an investigation into the distribution of questions and answers for the admission exam to FETÖ members by fellow members of the terrorist group.
In a separate investigation, the prosecutor’s office ordered the arrest of 29 suspects involved in an exam for candidates for the posts of judges in administrative courts in 2013. The investigation is based on accounts of eyewitnesses and suspects caught in earlier operations against the terrorist group, as well as expert witness reports on cheating. Prosecutors say FETÖ members organized a scheme to supply questions and answers for the exam and helped their members memorize them in “study houses” they set up. Operations were underway in 16 cities to capture suspects, including FETÖ handlers for the group’s infiltrators in the judiciary, as well as suspects who were dismissed from their jobs as judge candidates over suspected links to FETÖ. They face charges of membership in a terrorist group, fraud and forgery with the purpose of terrorism.
The terrorist group is blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people and injured 2,200 others, but it is also responsible for two earlier attempts in 2013 by its infiltrators in law enforcement and the judiciary.
It is already implicated in a string of cheating allegations for public exams. The group is accused of using the exams as a steppingstone to the public sector, where many of its members found jobs. Several members of the terrorist group were already convicted of mass cheating on a nationwide exam for civil servants. Multiple investigations into the group’s methods for cheating found that FETÖ leaked questions and answers to young members, either handpicked by the group’s leaders or eager to join the public sector. Former members of the group had testified in other cases that “brothers” or “imams,” point men and handlers for FETÖ, provided them questions and answers for exams. Civilians are believed to have gained access to well-protected questions and answers through infiltrators in bodies tasked with organizing the exams. The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched investigations concerning the police exam cheating after the 2016 coup attempt by the group’s military infiltrators.