Turkey's parliament passed late Sunday a judicial reform to abolish special courts used for coup trials and hearings of cases regarding Kurdish militants, parliamentary sources said.
ANKARA- The reform came as part of a judicial amendment package put forth by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Develepment Party, which had established the courts in 2005.
Special courts dealt largely with coup cases, filed against several hundred people, most of them active and retired military officers accused of plotting to overthrow Erdogan's government.
During his ten years in office, Erdogan has remained sharply at odds with the powerful military, and special courts have been criticised as a tool to strip the army of its might.
But it was unclear how the reform would affect ongoing trials, and whether suspects arrested as part of a large coup investigation, Ergenekon, would be freed.
Several of the Ergenekon suspects could be released after the amendment takes effect and regional courts replace the special courts, Turkish media predicted Monday.
The so-called Ergenekon network has been blamed by the government for a variety of violent acts.
Erdogan himself has criticised the vast power of special court prosecutors, who sent hundreds of officers, academics and Kurdish militants behind bars, saying they acted as if they were a "state within a state."
The once-untouchable Turkish army has overthrown civilian governments three times since 1960, and drove an Islamist government out of office in a bloodless coup in 1997.