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Turkey to recruit large numbers of cyber security professionals

The Turkish government is starting a recruitment drive for hundreds of university graduates to work in cyber security after a tumultuous year that has seen up to 90 million cyber attacks and exploits targeting Turkish government and private sector computers and networks.

The recruitment drive is being led by the Turkish government’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), and new recruits can expect to be paid a minimum of 6,000 Turkish Lira (approximately U.S$1,700) a month upon joining the BTK. According to BTK officials, the new cyber security recruits can expect to work on the frontlines of Turkish national security.

2016 was a devastating year for Turkish cyber security after the 15 July 2016 attempted coup that involved a large number of active measures in cyberspace by both the coup instigators and by the government of President Erdogan. Additionally, the Erdogan government endured several weeks of intense political pressure as Wikileaks mounted a campaign not long after the attempted coup to release information thought to be embarrassing for Ankara.

More recently, the planned Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Turkish telecommunications company Turkcell was delayed by a few days due to a cyber attack, and earlier in December 2016 criminals targeted Turkish bank AkBank and stole up to U.S.$4 million by exploiting the SWIFT network – the international banking system that enables money transfers across the globe.

In addition to all this, Turkey’s geopolitical position and situation places it in a very dangerous region as neighbouring governments, non-state actors, and criminal organisations exploit the bloody war in Syria and the geopolitical tensions involving Turkey, Russia, Iran, the Caucasus, and Daesh, among others.

As for BTK, it blames a large number of cyber attacks against Turkey on the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), a group designated by Ankara as a terrorist group because of Turkish allegations that the movement led by Fethullah Gulen (exiled in the United States) was the instigator of the 15 July 2016 attempted coup.

The head of the BTK, Ömer Fatih Sayan, said that the cyber security situation is so dire that, “We need people who will work around the clock if necessary.” BTK’s Sayan is appealing to Turkish universities and senior computer scientists to send their best graduates to BTK as soon as they are ready.

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