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Nearly 50,000 Turks still under arrest following 2016 failed coup

Interior minister says detained followers of Gülen include cops, soldiers, judges, administrators; 863 suspects remain at large

People, mainly Turkish soldiers, accused of trying to assassinate the Turkish president during the July coup attempt, are escorted by security forces towards the courthouse in Mugla, western Turkey, on February 20, 2017. (Bulent Kilic/AFP)
People, mainly Turkish soldiers, accused of trying to assassinate the Turkish president during the July coup attempt, are escorted by security forces towards the courthouse in Mugla, western Turkey, on February 20, 2017. (Bulent Kilic/AFP)

Turkey’s interior minister said Sunday that 47,155 people remain in custody following the massive sweeps carried out by authorities in the wake of the failed 2016 military coup.

Suleyman Soylu announced on local television that 113,260 — all reportedly members of the outlawed Islamic Gülen movement — were arrested, following the attempted coup in which 249 people died, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

“Among the remanded are 10,732 police officers, 7,643 soldiers, and 168 generals. 2,575 are judges and prosecutors. 26,177 are civilians, [and] 208 local administrators,” the minister said.

Soylu said that 23,861 people have been released, 41,499 were conditionally released and remain under supervision. He said that there are 863 suspects who remain at large.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in 2014 (Screen capture: YouTube)
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in 2014 (Screen capture: YouTube)

Renegade officers in Turkey’s military used tanks, fighter jets and helicopters in their July 15 attempt to unseat the government, attacking the parliament and other key buildings. Turkey blamed it on a network of followers of the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen — an ally turned foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Gulen, whom Turkey wants extradited from the United States so that he may also face trial, has denied any involvement in the coup.

The government declared a state of emergency following the attempted coup and launched a large-scale crackdown against Gulen’s movement, which it has declared a terror organization. Tens of thousands of suspected Gulen followers were purged from government jobs.

AFP contributed to this report.

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