Turkey Arrests 32 in Exam Cheating Scandal

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A Turkish court on Friday placed 32 people under arrest ahead of their trial on charges of forgery and belonging to an illegal group over an exam cheating scandal in the civil service.

The Ankara court also ordered the release of 30 others under judicial supervision, after nationwide raids on dozens of suspects in the case earlier this week, Turkish media said.

Those placed in pre-trial detention have been charged with being members of a criminal organisation, forging official documents, destroying evidence of a crime and abuse of office.

The investigation was prompted by a 2010 exam for the Turkish civil service known as the KPSS. There are a total of 616 suspects in the case.

Prosecutors found that 350 people in the exam correctly answered 120 out of 120 questions, reports said. Of these candidates, 70 were found to be couples while 52 others were neighbours.

Police sources quoted by pro-government Turkish newspapers have linked the scandal to the movement of U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, the arch enemy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The implication is that the Gulen movement leaked the answers ahead of the exam to sympathetic candidates in order to get them into good posts in the Turkish civil service.

However the allegations have been ridiculed by the pro-Gulen Turkish press.

Ankara prosecutors on Monday ordered the detention of 82 people in connection with the case and raids were then conducted nationwide.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of trying to create a parallel state by building influence in the judiciary, police and civil service, allegations he denies.

The Gulen movement, known as "Hizmet" (Service) has interests in media, finance as well as education in schools across Turkey and abroad.

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