A fake diploma claiming to be granted by the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) is sold for 450 Turkish Liras (approximately $47) on the Internet, the daily Sözcü reported Oct. 22.
Daily Sözcü journalists wrote a simple message saying "good day" to one of the websites providing the fraudulent documents and got a reply within 34 minutes with a message detailing the process of obtaining the fake diplomas.
"Fill out the form. First, we make a template. If you approve it, you make a payment. We send it to printing and then send it. The price is 500 liras (approximately $52)," the message said.
The diplomas are reportedly notary-certified and delivered within two days, the group said, adding that "It's an identical copy. Nobody could tell."
The final price offered for diplomas including schools like ODTÜ and Boğaziçi University was 450 liras, with the guarantee that "nobody will hear about it."
"We've made thousands of diplomas, nobody has been victimized. People who trusted us got the jobs they wanted. It's your turn," is among the advertisement pitches for the fraudulent diploma providers.
Turkey has recently been printing unique barcodes on diplomas to track the documents and check for authenticity, which has made it more difficult to generate false diplomas, Turkey Notaries Union deputy chair Cemal Afacan said.
"As the Turkish Notaries' Union, we have a project that assigns IDs and collects copies of all diplomas in a pool. The authenticity of diplomas can be verified with this database," Afacan added.
Some of the fraudulent diploma providers even advertise to young Turks who haven't yet finished their schooling but need to show their families a diploma.
Meanwhile, an alumnus of Kocaeli University's Geological Engineering program, who remained anonymous, told daily Sözcü that he has been earning money through his diploma as he is allowing companies to use it for a price between 1,000-1,500 liras.