Seven district governors in eastern Turkish provinces have been suspended following an investigation into their alleged ties to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), local media outlets reported Monday.
They include Sason Gov. Abdullah Özadalı and Beşiri Gov. Sinan Aşçı in the eastern province of Batman; Akçakale Gov. Hamza Özer and Karaköprü Gov. Ufuk Akıl in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa; Uzundere Gov. Hakan Şeker, Narman Gov. Mustafa Serin, and Hınıs Gov. Mustafa İlhan in the eastern province of Erzurum.
Authorities, however, did not disclose the details of the investigations. Okay Memiş, the governor of Erzurum – the hometown of FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen – said an investigation was underway into Ilhan, Şeker and Serin. “Their suspension was an administrative measure.”
Memiş told Ihlas News Agency (IHA) that the Interior Ministry had launched investigations on “some 35 district governors” across the country. He added that the suspects in question had attained their positions after 2016, the year FETÖ launched a military coup through its infiltrators in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
The terrorist group, known for its widespread infiltration of law enforcement as well as the bureaucracy, military and judiciary, moved to seize power three times – twice in 2013 and lastly with the coup attempt in 2016 that killed 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.
Earlier investigations revealed that between 2009 and 2014, the year the group was designated as a national security threat, FETÖ stole questions and answers to examinations that are required for promotions in the academia and public sector, as well as civil service exams that allow people to join the law enforcement, judiciary and bureaucracy. The group then supplied the answers to its members.
Police have launched countless operations against the group since the 2016 coup attempt. Hundreds of military infiltrators have been discovered and arrested in the investigations, while tens of thousands have been arrested for links to the group.
The state of emergency declared after the coup attempt sped up the crackdown against the terrorist group’s infiltrators. Some FETÖ members managed to flee abroad, while others are believed to still be hiding their ties to the group.
Several former members confessed to authorities that senior figures in the group trained them on how to avoid being detected while serving in the army, law enforcement and the judiciary.