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70,000 detained, 32,000 arrested since July 15, justice minister says

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Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced on Wednesday that Turkey has detained a total of 70,000 people and arrested 32,000 on over coup charges since a failed military coup attempt on July 15.

“Legal action has been taken against around 70,000 people. Some 32,000 have been arrested, and the process is still going on. There could be new arrests, but arrestees could also be released, some on judicial probation, some not. It is not yet certain how the trials will take place,” said Bozdağ.

The minister’s remarks came during a program on NTV on Wednesday morning.

Bozdağ said there is a need for more courtrooms in some places such as Ankara, adding that there are a sufficient number of courtrooms in İstanbul.

The minister said the trials of coup suspects will take place across the entire country and not only in certain places.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation and calling for an international investigation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies while thousands have been arrested. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

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