SILIVRI, Turkey - The trial of hundreds of Turkish military officers charged with plotting to overthrow the government was cast into limbo on Friday when the court referred the case to the prosecutor's office to break a deadlock caused by a defense lawyers' boycott.

The judges' move, raising the possibility of the case being transferred to another court, fueled uncertainty over what may happen to other coup conspiracy trials that have dragged on for years with hundreds of defendants kept in jail without conviction.

The prosecutor's office could return the case to the court in Silivri, on the northern shore of the Sea of Marmara, in which case the next hearing will be on August 6. But the appeals court could rule that another court should hear the case. Either way, the trial is set to continue for some time.

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