Turkey has detained 40,000 people in crackdown since coup, PM says

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, August 2, 2016. Hakan Goktepe/Prime Minister's Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - A total of 40,029 people have been detained in Turkey in investigations related to last month’s failed coup and around half of those have been formally arrested, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Wednesday.

In a speech broadcast live on television, Yildirim said that 20,355 people had been formally arrested in relation to the failed July 15 putsch, which Turkey blames on followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Yildirim also said that 79,900 people had been removed from public duty in post coup purges of the military, police, civil service and judiciary. He also said 4,262 companies and institutions with links to Gulen have been shut.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied the charge and condemned the coup. Turkey is seeking his extradition from the United States. Washington has said it would only do so if it has firm evidence.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Toby Chopra