Prosecutors in central Turkey's Konya debunked yet another Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) scheme as they recently exposed how Gülenists made their way to the top ranks of the Turkish Armed Forces. As part of the scheme, some FETÖ-linked academics at the Faculty of Law at Konya's Selçuk University are being accused of handing out higher grades to military judges, prosecutors and other officers for their university degrees, according to Anadolu Agency (AA).
Thus, officers required to complete university studies for promotion in the army were able to climb through the ranks relatively quickly. The terrorist group is accused of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt that killed 248 people. Through its infiltrators in the military, including generals, FETÖ sought to seize power and assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, prosecutors claim.
The coup bid was made possible through FETÖ's widespread infiltration in the army, but a strong public resistance managed to quell the putsch attempt.
Konya prosecutors, investigating some 26 suspects from the Law Faculty in their indictment, said the scheme was carried out at the university's Institute of Social Studies, where accused academics worked. They allegedly helped FETÖ officers to attain faster promotions by giving them master's degrees and diplomas.
"Academics are guilty of helping the coup in a way, as they helped officers involved in the coup to rise through the ranks," the indictment said.
The terror group, which placed infiltrators everywhere, from the judiciary, to law enforcement and the state bureaucracy and army, picked jury members to evaluate postgraduate studies for military staff, among its own members. Thus, despite widespread plagiarism, made-up research and other faults in articles, officers managed high scores, thanks to the jury's approvals.
"The group provided 'quick' post-graduate studies to its members in the army all across Turkey. Therefore, its members in the Faculty of Law are responsible for the coup attempt carried out by the so-called generals and officers," the indictment claimed.
FETÖ also set up a publishing house so that academics loyal to the group could publish their articles, required for promotion in academic circles, and the group managed to infiltrate almost every department of the faculty.
The terrorist group is also being investigated for cheating in the Academic Personnel and Graduate Exam (ALES), the equivalent of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) used in the admission of students to postgraduate courses.
FETÖ, known for its widespread infiltrations, reportedly "stole" questions and answers for the ALES between 2005 and 2013 and supplied it to its members. By doing so, the group managed to assign at least 8,500 people as academics in both private and state-run universities. The exam is the stepping stone for those pursuing a career as an academic, and most participants linked to FETÖ chose to work in universities, rising to the positions of assistant professors.
The group's members were also implicated in a mass cheating scandal in a past Public Personnel Selection Exam (KPSS), which is the key to access the public sector for millions of prospective civil servants.
FETÖ saw its attempts to seize power thwarted twice in 2013. Last summer, the terrorist group moved once again in a brazen attempt to topple the government. The group's leader Fetullah Gülen and Adil Öksüz, a theology lecturer serving as point man for officers loyal to Gülen, are accused of masterminding the coup attempt with generals linked to the group.
President Erdoğan has spearheaded the fight against FETÖ and the group was called the "parallel state" (in reference to its infiltration) after its followers in the judiciary and police launched probes to implicate government officials in 2013.
In December 2013, two attempts were foiled and Turkey moved to crack down on the terrorist group, which managed to flourish under the guise of a religious charity.
Gülen is the prime suspect in the coup-related cases and faces life imprisonment.
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