Turkey has said 32,000 have been detained over links to Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for the July coup attempt. Turkey continues to press the US to extradite the Pennsylvania-based religious leader.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told NTV television that 70,000 people had been investigated after the coup and of them 32,000 remanded in custody. "This process is continuing," Bozdag told the private broadcaster Wednesday in remarks broadcast live.
The logistic of conducting criminal trials of tens of thousands will be the biggest legal process in Turkey's history and are set to put the system under unprecedented pressure.
"It is not entirely clear how the trials will be carried out," Bozdag admitted as authorities struggle to set up venues for court hearings. "People are not going to be put on trial in just one place but trials will take place in all of Turkey ... We will build new courthouses as needed."
US officials have repeatedly said Ankara must provide material evidence to satisfy federal legal requirements over any extradition. Gulen is a permanent legal resident of the Untied States.
In addition to the tens of thousands being held, more than 50,000 Turkish citizens have been expelled from the civil service, including in the military, police, judiciary, and education, through decrees under the state of emergency declared after the failed coup.