Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag (L) (photo by AFP)
Turkey says it has formally placed upwards of 16,000 people under arrest on the suspicion that they played a role in the failed coup in the country last month.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag announced the figure in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency, which was broadcast live on Turkish television channels, on Tuesday.
The cases of another 6,000 detainees, he said, were still being processed. Another 7,668 people were under investigation but were not currently in detention.
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries during the botched putsch. It saw a faction of the military clashing with government troops and people on the streets of the capital, Ankara, and the city of Istanbul, using hijacked helicopters and tanks.
Thousands have also been suspended or fired in the aftermath.
The government has alleged that renegade officers in Turkey’s military, who had links to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based opposition cleric, staged the coup on his orders.
Gulen has denied any involvement and warned that the blame game could be a ploy by the ruling Justice and Development Party to cement its grip on power.
Ankara has, however, convicted Gulen in absentia and been threatening to revisit bilateral ties with the US should Washington fail to extradite the cleric.

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