20,000 Turkish students suspected of fraud in postgraduate entrance exam: Report
The Ankara Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into claims that answers to 16 Turkish postgraduate study entrance examinations were stolen and distributed to sympathizers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, pro-government daily Yeni Şafak reported on Dec. 19.
Around 20,000 people who have enrolled in a postgraduate program and become academics since then are suspected of being given answers by members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) for 16 Academic Personnel and Graduate Education (ALES) exams between 2005 and 2013, the newspaper reported.
The probe has also put under the microscope another 37,000 people who took the ALES exam in the same period and received top or almost top marks.
The prosecutor’s office says it is “suspicious” that none of these 37,000 people, despite receiving high scores, opted to enroll in any postgraduate program.
Investigators believe that handing the exam answers to sympathizers was a tactic used by FETÖ to open up academic personnel cadres for its members. A similar method was used to infiltrate various state institutions.
Some of the 37,000 people are determined to have initially enrolled in a postgraduate exam before starting to work in a public institution, supposedly in order to block prosecutors from monitoring them.
Investigators are reportedly analyzing all results of exams that the 37,000 people previously took.