November 15, 2015

Student who faces probe over exam irregularities won 2 math olympiad medals

Fethullah Gülen, a young student who has been named in an investigation of irregularities that may have taken place in a 2014 state educational exam, has said that including him in the inquiry is unjust, noting that he won two silver medals at a national math olympiad before the exam in question.

The student has become one of the latest victims of a defamation campaign launched by the government against sympathizers of the faith-based Gülen movement because he shares the name of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspires the movement.

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office initiated an investigation into possible irregularities in the Undergraduate Placement Examination (LYS) held in 2014 after a lawyer tweeted the student's exam results, which led to claims that sympathizers of the Gülen movement may have illegally helped the student, who is the grandchild of the scholar Gülen's brother, rank in third place.

The student Gülen ranked third on the 2014 LYS and is a graduate of the private Yamanlar College in İzmir, which was established by sympathizers of the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement.

Speaking to Today's Zaman, the young man said that he has achieved many academic successes, adding that he was targeted as part of the defamation campaign being conducted against his family.

Before his success on the LYS, Gülen previously won two silver medals at the Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) National Mathematics Olympiad. He also won several awards in scientific competitions and was among the top 1,000 students on the Level Determination Examination (SBS) in 2010. Gülen is now attending Bilkent University in Ankara.

Gülen says he cannot understand why his name is included in the exam investigation, adding: “I don't want to talk about my successes, but it is unfair that I was named in the investigation solely based on my success on the LYS when I have many other successes from the 13 years of my education. It is an injustice to both my family and my teachers.”

The student added that there was a weekend university trip abroad that he had registered for but he withdrew because he feared that pro-government circles would present the trip as though he had fled the country.

The Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) has also launched an administrative investigation of the LYS exam held in 2014.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has relentlessly targeted the scholar Gülen following a graft scandal that erupted in December 2013 and implicated members of Erdoğan's family. Gülen is a critic of the government, accusing it of being corrupt, engaging in favoritism and abusing religion for political and personal gain. Erdoğan and senior government officials and his political associates have accused the Gülen movement of being a terrorist organization, despite the absence of any concrete evidence.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 15 November 2015, Sunday