Turkish security forces launched raids in 10 provinces on Tuesday to arrest suspects linked to the Gülenist Terrorist Group (FETÖ). Operations follow investigations by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in the capital Ankara on the group's past crimes behind the foiled coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Ten suspects were captured in one operation against exam fraud between 2009 and 2015. They are accused of stealing exam questions and answers for admission to military schools. Security sources said some detainees are suspected of delivering stolen questions to fellow members of the terrorist group seeking to gain entry to schools training cadets for the Turkish navy and gendarmerie. Others were former cadets who were admitted to the schools through fraud. Suspects are also accused of fraud in admission interviews, the second stage of admission to military schools. Through their infiltrators at military schools, who were interviewers, they managed to help more FETÖ members gain access. Their scheme involved assigning specific numbers in application forms for each would-be infiltrator so that interviewers linked to FETÖ would recognize they were affiliated with the terrorist group and greenlight their admission while avoiding detection. Operations were carried out in three provinces to capture the suspects.
In another operation, authorities ordered the arrest of 19 suspects, and eight were captured so far in raids in Ankara and six other provinces. Suspects are accused of fraud in a 2013 exam for civil servants seeking employment at Capital Markets Board (SPK), the securities market regulator of Türkiye. Suspects include civil servants employed through the fraud scheme but later expelled or resigned when their affiliation with the terrorist group was discovered in the investigations.
FETÖ is already implicated in a string of cheating allegations in public exams. The group is accused of using the tests as a steppingstone to the public sector, where many of its members found jobs. Multiple investigations into the group’s methods for cheating found that FETÖ leaked key information to young members, either hand-picked 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 the questions and answers for exams. Civilians are believed to have gained access to well-protected information through infiltrators in bodies tasked with organizing the tests.