Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks on his way to address members of the parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Jan 28, 2014
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks on his way to address members of the parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara on Jan 28, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister "Recep Tayyip Erdogan" said today his government was working on a formula that would open the way for retrials for hundreds of military officers jailed for coup plotting.

The proposal appeared to be an attempt by Erdogan - who is battling a graft scandal that has claimed several of his allies' scalps - to reach out to Turkey's once-powerful generals, whom he has sidelined over his 11 years in power.

Erdogan, who said earlier this month he favoured the retrials, spoke of the plan to reporters before leaving on a trip to Iran, but said the scope and details had yet to be defined.

He said it would involve transferring the convicted officers' case files from the eight specially appointed courts that tried them to the country's 133 high criminal courts.

If it goes ahead, it could see hundreds of retired and active military officers who were imprisoned over the past two years on charges of plotting to topple Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government given a new trial in the criminal courts.

The trials in the special courts which originally convicted the officers were criticised, especially because some of the defendants remained detained without a verdict.

But they succeeded in reining in the powers of the armed forces, which have waged three coups in Turkey since 1960 as the self-declared guardians of Turkey's secular state.

The military command has already requested a review of the mass trials, arguing that some of the evidence against the officers was fabricated.

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