Turkey Arrested 16,000 People in Connection With Failed Coup

Turkey Arrested 16,000 People in Connection With Failed CoupTurkey Arrested 16,000 People in Connection With Failed Coup

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Tuesday 16,000 people have been arrested and remanded in custody in connection with last month’s failed coup attempt, while another 6,000 detainees were still being processed.

“Another 7,668 people were under investigation but were not currently detained,” he said in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency, broadcast live on Turkish television channels, Reuters reported.

Turkey has detained, removed or suspended tens of thousands of people in the judiciary, military, police, public service and elsewhere over alleged links with the abortive July 15 putsch, when a faction of the military tried to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government.More than 240 people were killed and nearly 2,200 people were wounded when a faction of the military commandeered fighter jets, military helicopters and tanks, opening fire on civilians as they attempted to overthrow the government.

Since the coup bid, soldiers, police, judges, journalists, medics and civil servants are among those who have been removed or arrested, prompting concern among western allies that Erdogan is using the events to tighten his grip on power. Turkey blames followers of US-based exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for the attempted coup. Gulen, whose followers in the security forces, judiciary and civil service Erdogan accuses of orchestrating the attempted power grab, denies any connection to the plot.

Turkish authorities say Gulen’s followers used several smartphone messaging apps to communicate with each other in the years ahead of the coaup attempt and that Turkey’s national intelligence agency, cracking the program, was able to trace tens of thousands of people from the group. A senior Turkish official said Turkey’s intelligence agency has identified at least 56,000 operatives of Gulen’s network as they cracked the little-known smartphone messaging app called ByLock, that the group began using in 2014. By this year, Turkish intelligence were able to map their network.