Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 46 people over alleged fraud in police exam

Turkish prosecutors issued detention warrants for 46 people, mostly police officers, on Friday over alleged fraud in a police academy entrance exam in 2012

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office claimed the suspects were accepted to the police academy because they cheated on their entrance examination. The statement added that the suspects had gotten hold of the test paper in advance of the exam.

The prosecutor’s office said one of the suspects was already in custody and that police have launched an operation in 24 provinces to arrest the remaining officers. With the latest warrants, the number of suspects in the probe has risen to 269, said the statement.

In another investigation, the same prosecutor’s office issued detention warrants for 35 people for alleged fraud in a 2011 Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies entrance exam.  Thirteen of them were detained in early morning raids on Friday.

Turkish police also detained 22 people on Friday across the country over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. One person was detained each in northwestern Tekirdağ and western İzmir provinces, while six more were detained in southeastern Adıyaman province. Additionally, police detained 12 former teachers from 5 different provinces as part of the central Aksaray-based operation. In the central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, police also detained two persons.

Police detained 21 people in Erzurum province over alleged links to the Gülen movement on Thursday as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting suspected members of the movement.

An İstanbul court on Friday released six businessmen allegedly linked to the Gülen movement. Known as the TUSKON case against 86 defendants, the trial, which started on Oct. 23, involves members of the TUSKON business association, which was shut down for its alleged financial support to the movement.

İstanbul’s 23rd High Criminal Court released TUSKON members Ahmet Şener Gülenç, İlhan Karagöz, Levent Dursunakın, Oğuz Kaan Gündüz, Salih Zeki Azak and Selahattin Altuntaş, but also ordered a travel ban for them.

The same court rule for the continuation of the imprisonment of Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı, chairman of the Aydınlı Group, Faruk Güllü, co-owner of the well-known Faruk Gülluoğlu baklava chain, Tolga Güven, Şafak Koca, Çetin Tekmedir, Ahmet Tuzlu, Mehmet Zenginer and Mustafa Zenginer.

Also on Thursday, a court in Ankara handed down life sentences to eight former military officers for their alleged links to the movement. The 20th High Criminal Court convicted the military members of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and the Turkish Republic.

Those convicted by the court are former Military Band Cmdr. Halil Birer, Squadron Cmdr. Erhan Dokur, Fatih Saban, Gökay Akar, Hakan Ortancıl, Hamza Göçer, Hüseyin Yüksel and Mahmut Konuk. Birer was sentenced to an aggravated life sentence, while the others were handed down life sentences. They were all convicted for their alleged activities at the Military Band Schools Command in Ankara during a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On December 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 2, 2017. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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