Corruption runs deep in Turkish universities, hacker group shows
Hürriyet photoTurkish hacker group RedHack has leaked over 60,000 documents in its latest attack on the Council of Higher Education of Turkey (YÖK) website, unraveling hundreds of corruption investigations and documented incidents.
In a counter-move taken after last month's clashes between students and police at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), RedHack took over the YÖK website, defacing a sub-domain and leaking tens of thousands of cables.
A number of the documents were confidential, according to a RedHack statement released on Jan.9.
The documents consist of bank account information, parliamentary complaints, correspondence between YÖK and universities, as well as end reports of corruption investigations.
Financial schemes, mishandled student information and private agreements with banks in exchange for financial and material rewards can all be seen in the series of documents released by the anti-government hacker group.
Bank pays for rector's car
One of the most striking cables shows a private transaction between the rector of Fırat University and Vakıflar Bank that took place in 2009. The bank, which Fırat University uses to receive tuition payments from students, agreed to pay for the full price of a Audi vehicle for the rectorship, as well as insurance expenses.
Vakıflar Bank, however, claimed that the payment was a promotional right for the rectorship of the university.
Another portion of the bank's payment was used to fund festivities for university students.
The transaction left the university heavily indebted, an investigation revealed.
Lab construction mishandled
Claims of mishandled payments during the construction of a laboratory at Giresun University also surface among the cables.
The university officials were not convicted, but only accused of charging both private companies and state authorities simultaneously for trips abroad for training on new gadgets. Documents show that YÖK's investigations were not able to reach conclusive results on the matter, but the end report sent to YÖK suggested further investigations should be conducted into rectorship officials.
Further incidents include student complaints of leaked Public Personnel Selection Examination questions, a parliamentary complaint filed against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regarding corruption cases in universities nationwide, as well as several other investigations into corruption nationwide.
The leaking may continue if further cases of corruption come up, RedHack has said.
Who are RedHack?
RedHack, a socialist organization of Turkish hackers, came to prominence after the group successfully accessed the servers of the Ankara Police Department in February, acquiring secret information.
Although formed in 1997, RedHack captured the attention of the Turkish people – and of the Turkish authorities – in the first months of 2012 after they hacked one government website after another in a bid to voice dissent and dissatisfaction with state policies. Their motto is "Halk için hack" (hacking for the people).