Turkey issues 249 arrest warrants for foreign ministry exam cheating

The Ankara chief prosecutor’s office issued arrest warrants for 249 foreign ministry staff over alleged exam cheating and suspected links to the clandestine Islamic movement of Fethullah Gülen, which Turkey accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on Monday.

The authorities said the warrants were ordered when an ongoing crackdown on the Gülen movement revealed that some ministry officials were involved in irregularities during foreign ministry entrance exams between 2010 and 2013, according to Cumhuriyet.

Seventy-eight suspects have been detained so far in operations across 43 provinces and police were searching for the remainder, said the newspaper, citing a prosecution order.

Over 77,000 people have been arrested for links to Gülen’s group, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey. Around 150,000 public employees have been suspended or sacked as part of the global crackdown, which also involves seeking the extradition of alleged members.

Turkish courts have sentenced 1,949 Turkish citizens to life in prison in 248 court cases linked to the failed coup, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.