ISTANBUL (AP) — Dozens of employees at Turkey's highest court have been suspended from their jobs as part of the government crackdown in the wake of a failed military coup, authorities said Saturday.
Sixty-four employees at the Constitutional Court were suspended until an assessment could be made on any possible links they have to the July 15 attempted coup, the court said in a statement. Eight other employees had already been dismissed and were detained on July 18, it said.
Nearly 70,000 people in Turkey have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs, according to the latest figures cited by the state-run Anadolu news agency, affecting workers in the judiciary, the education system, media, health care and other sectors. It's part of a broad crackdown by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government on those suspected of ties to a U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who the government says was behind the attempted coup.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile since the late 1990s, has denied any involvement or prior knowledge of the coup.
More than 18,000 people have been detained or arrested at some point since the abortive coup, with more than 3,500 of them since released. Of those detained, more than 9,000 people, mostly in the military, have been formally arrested, according to figures from Interior Minister Efkan Ala.
On Saturday, courts released 800 military conscripts arrested in the coup probe. The Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office recommended the release of 758 out of 989 conscripts under arrest, on grounds they had delivered their testimony and did not pose a flight risk. Those released included military high school students.
Another 47 were released by a court in Ankara on similar grounds.