Fethullah Gülen key suspect in ‘exam cheating’ probe

Fethullah Gülen key suspect in ‘exam cheating’ probe

Fevzi Kızılkoyun/Mesut Hasan Benli ANKARA
Fethullah Gülen key suspect in ‘exam cheating’ probe

Police detain suspects as part of an operation that started on March 23 in order to detain a total of 82 suspects. Gülen (inset) is the key suspect. DHA photo

Controversial U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is the key suspect in the latest investigation into allegations of cheating in a compulsory public servants’ examination in Turkey, with 65 people detained as suspects across the country on March 24.

The Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Police Department (KOM) revealed that those detained are suspected of being involved in a scheme to steal the answer keys of the Public Personnel Selection Examination (KPSS) in 2010. The answers were then allegedly leaked to members of the Gülen movement. The police investigation also claims that the exam questions were stolen and handed out on the order of Gülen himself, the government’s ally-turned-nemesis.

Police accessed details of the organization’s structure by analyzing contact and communication between the suspects before and after the exam. The Ankara Police Department launched the operation on March 23 in 14 provinces across the country in order to detain a total of 82 suspects, who allegedly have links to the Gülen movement.

The operation spread to 19 provinces on March 24. Apart from the 65 detained suspects, three female suspects were released after a short period of detention, as they were either pregnant or breastfeeding their babies. During the interrogation, police asked the suspects 35 questions, mainly concentrating on their links to the Gülen movement and their suspected role in the cheating allegations.

Meanwhile, the expert reports in the investigation file have reportedly determined that the exam questions were found on the computers of some of the suspects four days before the exam, and confirmed that the suspects gave the correct answer without writing on their exam calculation sheet.

No writing on sheets

Suspects noted calculations for easy questions rather than the hard ones, while others correctly answered questions without making calculations, according to the report. In addition, some suspects marked the right answer despite personally finding the wrong answer on their exam calculation sheet.

The report also referred to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK)’s confirmation that the exam questions were found on the computers of the suspects before the exam took place.

The Turkish government accuses its former ally Gülen of establishing a “parallel structure” within the state, claiming that Gülen sympathizers rose to key positions in public institutions, the judiciary and the police department, where they used their position in favor of Gülen. The close ties between the government and Gülen collapsed and turned into an open warfare after the massive corruption investigations allegedly launched by Gülenist prosecutors and police officials in December 2013.