Justice Minister: Turkey Arrests 32,000 in Coup Plot Investigation

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -
People wave Turkey's national flags during the Democracy and Martyrs Rally, organized by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and supported by ruling AK Party (AKP), oppositions Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), to protest against last month's failed military coup attempt, in Istanbul, Turkey, August 7, 2016. Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People wave Turkey’s national flags during the Democracy and Martyrs Rally to protest against July’s failed military coup attempt, in Istanbul, August 7. (Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters)

Turkey has formally arrested 32,000 people in its investigation of a religious movement the government blames for staging a military coup attempt on July 15, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday.

In a live interview with broadcaster NTV, Bozdag also said a total of about 70,000 people have faced legal proceedings on suspicion of links with U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government says engineered the failed coup. Gulen, who lives in the United States, denies any involvement.

Turkey is building a new courthouse in the town of Sincan, near the capital Ankara, and needs more facilities in order to prosecute all of the Gulen followers implicated in the coup plot, Bozdag said. Turkey deems the Gulen movement as a terrorist organization.